Everything I read and was able to post about in 2005. Entries dated on the date each book was finished.

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Location: Dexter, Michigan, United States

I've been taking photos since I eagerly asked for and received my first camera on my 12th birthday. Naturally, I was made for scrapbooking. I also enjoy knitting, quilting, and swimming. I used to be CreativeExile; my email still reflects that!

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Sweetest Taboo

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Gardens of Kyoto

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ghosts of the Carolina Coasts

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Friday, March 18, 2005

Images and Shadows

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I slogged through this one, but it was worth it. The author lived a privileged life, pampered but not spoiled, realistic and open to new experiences. As E would say, and by her own description, she was an Ugly Duckling who grew up to be "just an ugly duck," but she never feels sorry for herself nor does she play the easy role of a self-depreciating humorist.

She was a smart, observant woman who did what she couldto help while living in Italy during WWII. I particularly enjoyed her passages about living a writer's life, which she was lucky enough to choose. She and her husband rebuilt an Italian villa from its ruins, during a war which further ravaged the countryside and destroyed the old way of life there. She leaves passages about the death of her young son to the very last, and never quite explains it all, but leaves you heartbroken and thankful she was able to share what she could.

I've put her war diary, War in Val D'Orcia, on my wish list.

Ten Thousand Islands

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One of the places we visited while in Florida was Sanibel Island, and her sister island, Captiva, recently somewhat flattened by Hurricane Charley. And by recently, I mean six months before our visit. Blue tarps were still visible on Captiva (Sanibel remained mostly untouched) and trees were lopped off at the top.

We decided to eat at Randy Wayne White's rum bar, "Doc Ford's," on Sanibel after our walk along Captiva's beaches. His books were on sale there, of course, as well as every kind of memorabilia you could ever want to pay for. I actually had some of his books at home, more book convention freebies (as I remember it, the publishing house's plebe pretty much shoved his books into my book bag).

Now, I'm not a fan of mystery writing in general, but ya gotta admire the P.R. mill these guys can churn out. A rum bar! Named after your main character! T-shirts and hats with your name on it! I hope RWW is cringing all the way to the bank.

As for the book? Fun to read if you've just been there. But remember, that's coming from someone who doesn't usually read mysteries, but who loves historical fiction. And fiction that is heartily evocative of a real place is right up there on my list of joys in reading. So, likeable if you've been there, likeable if you like mysteries, but otherwise - eh.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Back Home

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This book immediately reminded me of Maeve Binchy's Light a Penny Candle, only for young readers. The author has created a very plausible character and, as always, any book about WWII fascinates me. Quick & enjoyable. I would recommend this to any budding fan of historical fiction.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Isle of Palms

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I occasionally get my fill of Southern writers in just one sitting. This book would be this summer's fill.

The narrator's voice is so annoying, I nearly threw it across the room on several occasions (oh, damn, that is one funny dangling participle. I'm just going to leave it where it is. You can throw a voice, after all...hee). And if I hear one more Lowcountry author going on about the importance of the Gullah language and people (okay, okay, we GET IT already), I will swear off sweet tea forever.

Still, Benton Frank's characters are certainly memorable, and, given this was another of my book convention freebies, I need to just mark this one off as a week of lost reading time and be done with it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Shadow of Albion

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I never read fantasy or science fiction (Harry Potter notwithstanding), so I was surprised that this one interested me. It can somewhat be explained by the fact that it was a Florida trip freebie (my folks rented a home that had been sold, it's contents were somewhat up for grabs...funny me, I only got away with a couple of books. Figures).

It's hard to describe the premise, save to say it is a combination of historical fiction (the Regency period) and time-travel, with alternate history thrown in as a result. Now, I enjoy my British history as much as any other public-school educated American, so this one confused me in several ways. But I think it would confuse even those of you who are up on your British AND American history, since the outcome messes with both.

Just put all that out of your mind and admire the atmosphere created by the author. You'll be fine.