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Thursday, November 29, 2001
fiery cross and all that...

Where's my prize? I read all 979 pages of Diana Gabaldon's fifth book in the Outlander series. The Fiery Cross was somewhat disappointing, it lacked the drama of some of the earlier book, but made up for that with all the excruciating details of everyday life in the American Colonies. I was sad to read that there will be one more book in the series and she's chucking the whole lot of 'em. Sad how one becomes attached to fictional characters, why they're almost like family...distant relatives for sure, but you still know and love 'em. I shall travel to New Orleans in January so I'm looking for a few books to read about the Big Easy, or maybe not. Don't want to spoil the anticipation.

Wednesday, November 14, 2001
mistaken identity & tabacso done gone

Though I should have left Leaving tabasco behind, I completed the book anyway. I suppose I'm used to Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez and Gabriel Garcia Marquez because Boullosa's book didn't do much for me. The beginning was most interesting with all the strange plagues and supernatural manifestations, but the end left me cold. The novel should have told the main character's whole life story, not just the events that led to her leaving Mexico. I think that her post-Mexico adventures may have been much more interesting.

Can't seem to immerse myself in MBW. Will have to focus on that later this month.

On my bedside table: one of Lisa Scottoline's mysteries, Mistaken identity. The book jacket screams that she's the female John Grisham. I'm not sure I really appreciate the book this far, though I'm just a few chapters in. The characters seem roughly drawn, and her narrative seems choppy or elementary...something I can't quite put my finger on. No flow. I cannot recall whether I've read any of her books prior to this one. Soon, I'll be looking through all my books to select which ones will go on vacation with me. Hopefully I can truly indulge in reading, but it's likely that other diversions shall prevail...depends on the weather.

Thursday, November 8, 2001
over-bourked, or just bourkeing along?

Whew, finished A portrait of myself, Margaret Bourke-White's autobiography. That whew was not a sigh of boredom, but of glad to finally finish it so that I can focus on other MBW books. Still plugging away at Shooting the Russian War, and just got Halfway to freedom --the one about her adventures in Indian & Pakistan. I should have the remainder of her books coming in via ILL, so I have much reading to do! And, I'm still reading in Boullosa's book, though just a few chapters each night before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep...

Monday, November 5, 2001
tell no one

Intrigue over the weekend. I read Tell no one, which was okay. Just a bit difficult to figure out the real story behind all the subterfuge. This was my first Harlan Coban novel, though I'm not sure it will be my last, but then again it could be. Sometimes I'm so wishy-washy. It was an average book, a quick read though most likely a good book to take on a place, train, or automobile.... or even a cruise ship.

I also began Leaving tabasco and am about halfway through it at this point. It is definitely filled with magic realism, which I devour by the truckload. But, I'm waiting for the novel to kind of pick up. The story is about a young girl, and she eventually leaves Tabasco and lives in Germany. Although there are plenty of supernatural events happening in the book and it is far from dull, I keep waiting for something exciting to happen to Delmira Ulloa, the main character. Here's an interview with Carmen Boullosa, the author. I can't tell if Carmen has an author site. It's possible that she does, but since I don't read Spanish, I just cannot tell, sorry.

Haven't finished the Bourke-White books just yet, but that is a high priority indeed.


Saturday, November 5, 2001
circus lives, first loves, and photo mavens

While I'm in the middle of reading two books written by Margaret Bourke-White, I've completed two others last night. Trying to get some solace from leisure reading. I've had Josser: the secret life of a circus girl for quite some time. Nell Stroud's chronicle of her life with two different circuses traveling through the UK intrigued me, but ultimately bored me. I kept waiting for disaster, or even really good sex, but she kept mum on that subject. And, although it was quite easy to read, the writing was a bit dry, humorless. I do like humor in memoirs. And it seems as though there would be endless humor working in a circus, but basically it was constant hard work. I really enjoyed Roustabout, by Michelle Chalfoun, which though similar is much better because it is fiction. I read it gosh, five years ago or so. You may be familiar with the title since Winona Ryder optioned the movie rights in 1996 I believe. Perhaps it's a cultural difference. Americans seem to love disaster and the dysfunctional, they roll around in the muck (what is it, play with pigs and you get all muddy? or hang out with pigs and they drag you into the mud? I will have to recall where I heard that...), while Brits like to keep up appearances.

I picked up Pages for you at the library because the cover intrigued me. Itís Sylvia Brownrigg's second novel. Nice descriptive imagery, a quick read about a first love between a student and TA.

I've got about 2 chapters left before I finish Margaret Bourke-White's autobiography, A portrait of myself (Elsa Dorfman reviews a biography about her written by Vicki Goldberg). I'm writing an entry about her for the Biographical Dictionary of Literary Influences, and am searching for just that evidence. I'm perhaps halfway through Bourke-White's book Shooting the Russian War, which was published in 1942. She mentions packing 28 paperback mystery novels for her trip, my kind of woman. She's really quite fascinating, and led such a life of adventure, while photographing Stalin, Gandhi, and other world leaders--and writing about it, too.