A couple of years ago I found myself out of work and I discovered a great way to save money, storage space and I’m sure the environment.  I’m talking about the public library.  I can search for books by topic, author or title, reserve them online and the only drawback is that they aren’t delivered to my doorstep.  I can return the books anytime of the day and night and if I need to I can renew online.  If I pick up an author I hate, it didn’t cost me anything.  If I pick up an author I like, I can reserve every book they’ve ever written and it won’t cost me a fortune.

With the onset of the internet people kept predicting the end of libraries but those smart librarians have learned to adapt.  My county library has become a major resource for job hunters.  They offer career seminar courses that cover target job search, local resources, company research and online applications.  They offer short courses on how to use word processing, spreadsheets and presentation software.  I can even email or fax questions to the reference librarian.

The only thing missing is the cafe.  I mentioned that to a friend and you’d think I was proposing that the devil should come to dinner.  I think it would be a nice little moneymaker.  Offer coffee and tea all the time and then there could be bake sale fund raisers on the weekend. With all the budget cutting going on  it might be a clever way to raise a little extra money.  The other weekend the librarians were wearing t-shirts to promote reading. Hey for $15-20 I would have purchased one.

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116 Rejection Letters?
Posted by Lynn at 11:23 pm in Novels, Uncategorized

Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford.  So Jane Austen is a vampire and she’s been submitting her unpublished manuscript for last 200 years and had collected 116 rejection letters before someone decided to publish it.  She complains about not getting royalties on her novels nor money from all the novelty items.  (Can you imagine seeing a collectible finger puppet version of yourself on the shelf?)

I liked how Ford created a world where the vampires could simply fit in almost completely unnoticed.  They can go out in the sunlight, they can eat food or drink wine, they can sleep in regular beds. And death wasn’t limited to a stake in the heart.

I liked Lucy in her role as substitute sister.  She took Jane’s news very well, (perhaps too well) but she was needed to lighten up Jane and give her some perspective.

Byron as a vampire.  Eternally handsome, writing poetry and romance novels?  I saw that coming along with that crazy Violet Grey.  Although the life sized mannequins in the kitchen did give me pause.

I wasn’t initially reading the excerpts from Constance at the beginning of each chapter. When I did, I realized they were a foreshadowing device that  I sometimes found clever and sometimes trite.

It was a quick fun summer read.  I liked how it poked fun at vampire stories, Byron and Jane.

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Was that really suppose to be enjoyable?
Posted by Lynn at 1:04 am in Off Topic

I just saw Pinter’s No Man’s Land.  I can’t say I liked it but the acting was good.  The question and answer with the cast and director was very enlightening. I think I would have just hated the play if I hadn’t stayed for the discussion which answered some of my questions.

At first I wasn’t sure who was the main character in the play. Is it Spooner?   Spooner practically on stage the whole show.  When he ends up alone in the locked in the room, I have to wonder is he simply crazy and this is his interpretation of his cell and are these his hallucination? Knowing this was a Pinter play I started to wonder if maybe it was Hirst, since he was the character physically in the center stage and  his name and story remain the same throughout.  So then, were the other character’s real, allegorical or imaginative?

The director pointed out that the viewer brought their own personal experience into the play.  In other post-play discussions people felt that this could have been the result of Hirst’s drinking or that he had dementia or some other mental illness.  However once the director pointed out that Pinter’s wife, Vivien Merchant had a drinking problem it was easier to see it in that light although any of the others would work as well.

Listening to the actors describe how they developed their characters was very interesting.  The actor playing Hirst felt that all the other parts were characters representing different facets of the protag’s life.  This was interesting because their names changed as they play went on as well as their stories, their roles, clothes, accents.  Another actor played his role straight.  Another said that he never built a backstory.  He felt that the whole thing had a dreamlike feel, where the dream reality kept changing and flowing.   All of these different methods meshed together.

Even the set with its subtly skewed perspectives added to the disturbing ambiance.  The doors were slightly askance, instead of four walls there were in effect five. The ceiling radically sloped.  The “floor” came to a point and jutted out over the front of the stage.  The director added a Keyser Söze effect, the picture over the fireplace was painted by Spooner and there is a picture of a jonquil on the wall.

I doubt that I’ll ever really like the play, but I do think I’d like to see another interpretation of it.

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Vampires, werewolves and panthers, oh my!
Posted by Lynn at 7:46 pm in Audio Books, Novels

Wow, Johanna Parker was fantastic reading the Sookie Stackhouse (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood) series by Charlaine Harris. I put more miles on my car the past couple months than I have in almost a year just so I could listen to her read. Now that I’m done listening to the series, I feel like my best friend has moved away.   If you’re not familiar with The Southern Vampire stories I’ll give you a brief overview.

Sookie is a waitress in Bon Temps, La. and she can read minds.  Although I think “hear” would be a better description.  Her brother Jason is a were-panther.  She’s been involved with several supernatural creatures, a vampire, a weretiger and then there is her witch roommate and Bob the cat who wasn’t a cat before and well let’s just say now he’s a cat.  But Sookie’s perky attitute, keen observations and the clever remarks (that frequently have me thinking that’s something I would say) help her survive everything that shows up at her door.

Ms. Harris has created a character that I would have liked to be my friend–a friend I would  have warned about getting so involved with the supernatural.  Slowly the problems and dangers build up as Sookie life becomes more entwined and by the last book I wanted to take my friend away and help her recover from the emotional and physical beating she had been experiencing.  I would be interest to see what Ms Harris has planned for Sookie because Sookie has changed so much and has to change to survive .   There is no going back only coping and adapting however I see a very dark future for her.

Below are links to a couple of the audiobooks. To find all of them on Amazon you will need to search on both Sookie Stackhouse and Parker.
Dead as a Doornail: Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery #5

All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse)All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse)

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The Ghost of Christmas Past
Posted by Lynn at 7:31 pm in Uncategorized

Okay, cue the spooky music. Christmas morning I’m trying to finish the last gift and the delicate aroma of dusting powder drifted into the room.  To appreciate this odd event you have to understand that I was alone in the house, I don’t use dusting powder and the only person I know who did was mom and she’s been gone for 7 Christmases.

It had to be mom dropping in to wish me Merry Christmas.  I miss mom. I miss her warmth, her humor, her excellent advice, her love.  I told her about my year and how I was doing and that I still miss her.  I also told her I hope she was having a good time, telling jokes with Aunt Ellen and that grandmother had developed a sense of humour.  And that I hoped her cats where with her.  I think the hereafter would be really lacking if it didn’t have cats and dogs and joke telling siblings.

I doubt that I’ll ever stop missing her.

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