Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yea for Us Dogwalkers!

"A 2011 study found that dog owners were 34% more likely to get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week than nonowners. Nearly half of the roughly 2,400 dog owners in the study reported that they exercise thirty minutes a day for at least 5 days a week; among the nonowners, only about a third exercised that consistently."

Cute and warm and fuzzy--and good for our hearts in more ways than one!

"How America Got So Fat (and So Sick)" by Arthur Agatson, M.D. Prevention October 2011, p. 107.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Little Sis' October Read--got one!

I just read "Wither" by Lauren DeStefano. Marketed as teen fiction, it is one of those crossovers that is great for adults too. Interesting world in the future, where no one lives past 25 anymore, and the desperation that comes from the fear of death..Girls are abducted, children bought & sold as domestics (sound familiar?)....Oh, and a polygamous marriage is the new family unit.....!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Middle Sis' Books o'September (and a Couple I Forgot from August)

Happy autumn! Now the perfect time to settle in with a god book and the soothing hot drink of your choice has finally arrived. Well, maybe for you, sisters, but it's still dang hot here in the desert. I forgot to include some books from last month, so here's what was on my nightstand this past very hot and very wet month.

  • Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers  The classic whodunnit with an introduction that summarizes the backstory of Lord Peter Wimsey. I thought I'd read all of Sayers, but I don't remember this one. And that's a good thing--I can reread and enjoy them all over again. In this story, Peter's brother, the Duke of Denver, is accused of killing their sister Mary's fiance, and while denying the accusation, he refuses to provide an alibi. Enter Peter to untangle this family mess. Period talk and situations (early 20th century England). Very enjoyable. 
  • The Tale of Applebeck Orchard by Susan Wittig Albert
  • The Tale of Oat Cake Crag by Susan Wittig Albert
  • The Tale of Castle Cottage by Susan Wittig Albert Yes, a Beatrix Potter mystery series marathon. I read that the last in the series, The Tale of Castle Cottage, was released this month, and realized I'd fallen behind. So in three marathon days (thank you, MCC, for the fieldwork with all the 10 minute down time stretches in which I could read), I finished off the series. Very cosy, but not for people who don't enjoy talking animals who take tea and have underground setts furnished with fireplaces and libraries. The only jarring note was where an incident from one book was recounted in the next, verbatim (which you would only realize if you read them back to back, as I did). I may cut and paste in my technical writing, but I don't like it in my fiction. But yes, the series ends on the real-life happy note of the wedding of Beatrix Potter and Will Heelis.Period talk and situations, with commentary by the author directly to the reader that some may find annoying after a while.
  • Goodness Gracious Green by Judy Christie Modern cosy novel centered on a small town. I'm not sure how I feel about this series. It didn't help that I haven't read the several that came before this one, and the author does a lousy job of introducing characters, assuming that her reader has been following the inhabitants of Green all along and knows them all. Well, after a little befuddlement, I got everyone straightened out. The book could have used a little editing work (e.g., at location 2612, our main character Lois thinks to herself that she wishes someone else would take over the conversation as she was uncomfortable with the talk, but she was the one who initiated it; location 3076, teeth are clenched, not clinched; some missing words at location 3098 found at location 3113). There are apparently no non-Christians in Green (and thus no need for separation of church and state and the fourth estate), nor any bad people or even unlikeable people. If you're in the mood for a super cutesy, schmaltzy, slight mystery with a squeaky clean romance, than you'll enjoy this series.
  • Saving Sailor by Renee Riva Young adult coming of age story set in 1968. The author has done a great job of getting into the mind of 10-year-old A.J. and reconstructing a more innocent childhood that reminded me strongly of my own. Except that A.J. is a bit more precocious and philosophical than I was at 10. I loved her parents and family life. I'd love to attend her family's big summer bash.This was a great book to read in the summer, taking place largely as it does during A.J.'s summer vacation, with flashbacks to when she got Sailor, her dog, and other events.  Recommended for any age.
  • Walking Into Murder by Joan Dahr Lambert First in a new series. Professor Laura Morland is on a walking vacation in England (aha, now you know why I read it) when she gets caught in a torrential downpour. A tall, handsome stranger looms out of the dark and begs her to pretend to be his wife, and Laura finds herself in a strange manor house, populated by a strange family, with a strange corpse in her bed that disappears. There were some rough passages that could have used some editing (we know right away something is not kosher when Adrian shows his vault of priceless art to a complete stranger; people pop out from behind trees in the forest so often in one scene that it reads as repetitive and silly, not scary, and there were typos and other typeset and grammar mistakes that could have been caught). The Thomas and Catherine subplot seemed a bit contrived and coincidental; Catherine's character was useful, but making her Thomas' daughter was a bit of a stretch. Laura was almost too naive for believability as the heroine, and utters some senseless lines. But all in all, not a bad first effort. I might continue to read the series, especially if a good editor is hired to tighten the plot and prevent inconsistencies.