Somebody’s listening!

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Hey all!  Look who commented on my recent post — Chris Grabenstein himself!  How cool is that?

Also, if you’ve read Maisie Dobbs (Jacqueline Winspear) and Her Royal Spyness (Rhys Bowen), you might get a kick out this “interview” off of Amazon.  Scroll down a bit.

Don’t you love the Brits?


Tilt A Whirl – Chris Grabenstein


Tilt A Whirl by Chris Grabenstein was our book for August. 

The author, through the narrator Danny, warned us that we may think we know what direction the story is going, but the ride always suddenly changes direction.

“But when I was a kid, I loved how the Tilt-A-Whirl could surprise you. How it spun you around one way and the next time you hit the exact same spot, it spun you around some way completely different . . . . You never knew what to expect next. . . . [My math] teacher called it ‘mind-jangling unpredictability’.” [p. 25]

He wasn’t kidding.  Just when you think you know what’s going on, you get thrown in a different direction.

We had a large group for the meeting, probably the biggest crowd I’ve seen since I started attending.  Which was great fun and made for some lively discussions.  Just about everyone liked the book and are eager to move on to the next in the series.  One of our members didn’t like it and I won’t tell you why because that would give away key details.  Another member found some of the police department aspects a little unbelievable, but the New Jersey location made for an interesting discussion about just where the little town of Sea Haven could be located.  We also talked about why the author made up a town instead of using an existing locale. 

The Code of Ceepak was a discussed at great length and when the group was asked who they would want to have dinner with, Ceepak was picked practically unanimously.  I chose Danny, though, because being a local boy, he seems to know all the best places to eat. 

Joan arrived with both a biography of the author and some book club questions off of the internet.

From the biography we learned that Chris Grabenstein is a former improvisational comedian who worked with Bruce Willis, he’s written six Ceepak mysteries (A Six Pack of Ceepak) and he’s written a childrens’ series.

The book club questions gave us some interesting things to talk about.  One particularly amusing one was:

“Throughout the book women are depicted in a variety of roles–including waitress, lawyer, lover, mother, daughter, police officer, forensics expert, friend. Do you feel the author’s treatment of women is fair and/or accurate? What message will the female reader glean from this book regarding the role of women in contemporary society? The male reader?”

“The role of women in contemporary society”.  Most of the group read this to be entertained, not to talk about contemporary society.

And we didn’t even discuss Bruce Springsteen’s music

We need to begin to commence to think about our list of books for 2012, so if you have something you’d like included, post a comment or send me an e-mail.  We’d like to finalize this by October.


Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

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Our book this month was The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, by Erik Larson.  Only about five people came to the meeting and it seems that only Pam really liked this book.  When asked to rate it, Pam gave it a 10, but most gave it a 2 or a 3.  Most either didn’t read it or didn’t finish it.  And one participant just read the “good parts”.  When asked what the good parts were, it would seemed that she just skimmed until she encounter Holmes’ name and then read those parts. 

Pam thought the details about the history, the visionaries of the era involved in the World’s Fair and the “perfect storm” of problems that arose were interesting.  She also found the Pinkerton detective work fascinating.  In an era without our technology and ease of movement across large areas, they did amazing work. 

Nancy continues to slog along, determined to finish.  She found all of the background, politics, design aspects and fundraising details about the fair to be a bit much, but is hopeful the “mystery” part of the story is better.

All you mystery readers out there, think about what you might want to read in 2012 and let us know!

Jane and … #10

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Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron