Books -- 04/14/08

I submitted two Amazon orders this past week -- a total of ten books -- which got me to thinking that I should write about books more often here.

Nancy and I are heavy readers, although sometimes I find that I just do not have enough time to read as much as I would like to because I am too busy with other activities. There are times when it takes me a week or more to get through a book because other things keep me from having any spare time until bedtime and then I can't read too late because I need to get up in the morning. But if I have enough free time, then I can easily knock off three or four books in a week.

Although I hate the hurry-up-and-wait hassle of modern air travel with the stand in line, empty your pockets, take off your shoes, etc., theatre-of-the-absurd "security" procedures by Homeland Insecurity, the flight itself represents several hours of carefree opportunity to read. (Now if only airplane seating could be comfortable.) My Amazon orders will make sure that I have sufficient reading matter for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas. I won't get much reading done while I am actually in Las Vegas -- very long days at the technical conference and various mandatory group dinners and meetings in the evenings so at best I would have one "free" evening and most evenings would only expect to have maybe an hour to relax with a book before needing to go to sleep -- but the waiting time at the airport gate areas plus the flight itself means around six or seven hours of reading time going out there and coming back (the nominal flight time for non-stop PVD to LAS is 5:50 and non-stop return is 4:55).

Those two book orders total ten books, but three of the books are for books that are out-of-print so they are actually from book resellers by way of Amazon. (Two of them are by Gail Eastwood, who ran the writer's workshop that I mentioned recently.)

And one of the books ordered is the latest John the Eunuch novel from Mary Reed and Eric Mayer -- Seven for a Secret. (Technically, the official publication date is Tuesday, April 15th, so the book is still eligible for the Amazon 5% pre-order discount if you order now.) If you don't like to read books in a series out-of-order, I believe the folks at Amazon would be pleased to sell you the earlier books in the series (starting with One for Sorrow, which is also available in Kindle format, Amazon's electronic book media).

Yes, I'm one of those people who prefer reading series novels in the order in which they were written. This sometimes causes me problems. For example, with Mary and Eric's aforementioned John the Eunuch series, I put off reading book five in the series because I had misplaced book four. And then, after I finally found where I had put book four and got to read it, I discovered that I had now misplaced book five. (It's around here somewhere.!)

And then continuing the book theme, this afternoon Nancy and I went to hear a talk by a local writer about her recently published novel (and about her current work-in-progress). The author is Betty J. Cotter and her novel is Roberta's Woods. It is set in a near-future Rhode Island where an energy crisis has caused gasoline shortages, rising prices, and a stagnant economy -- which has triggered an attempt by the state government to relocate people from the rural areas to public housing projects in the urban areas. Her protagonist has lost her college instructor position and has to return to Rhode Island to live with her swamp yankee family. (Long time readers here may recall mention that a swamp yankee is a local term for rural residents of the South County area, independent-minded and resourceful people who live on the land. There are those who use the term as a pejorative but most of the people who might be described by the term would tend to use it as a label of pride. The "swamp" part of the term comes because South County is fairly low-lying and there are many wet lands around here.) I realized after going to Amazon to get that link to her novel that I actually have at least one of her non-fiction books.

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