Top Ten Tuesday: Book On My Summer Reading List


Time again for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish).  This week’s theme is a “summer freebie” so I’m going to make a list of the books I hope to read this summer.  (We just signed up for our library’s summer reading program yesterday and I’m ready to go!)

  1.  Lockdown by Laurie R. King
  2. The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
  3. Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
  4. Bad Girl Gone by Temple Matthews
  5. Ten Dead Comedians by Fred Van Lente
  6. Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet by James Goss
  7. Vicious by V.E. Schwaub
  8. Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles
  9. It by Stephen King (re-read)
  10. The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan

That should keep me busy this summer! And, of course, there will be reading to Shortcake so she can get prizes too!

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Review: High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic by Glenn Frankel

High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American ClassicGood films are a product of their time. And sometimes understanding not only what went into making a film but also the time in which it was made can lead to a deeper and richer viewing. That’s the case with one of the greatest films ever committed to celluloid as examined by Glenn Frankel in his latest book High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic.

Frankel brings together many of the threads that led to the making of the film — from the events leading up to the infamous Blacklist and naming names to the casting decisions for the film. Walking away from the book, you’ll marvel at how many times things could have gone wrong for one of the iconic films of American cinema, but how they all lined up to produce a film that is as taut, entertaining and fascinating today as it was upon its initial release.

Picking up this book will give you a new respect for High Noon and also leave you wanting to view the film again with the new insights gained from Frankel’s thorough account about the making of this celebrated classic.

The story of Will Kaine, a man deserted by his supposed friends in his hour of need, becomes even more gripping knowing what the screenwriter and many of those behind the scenes were putting on the line to make this movie.

Frankel moves easily back and forth between giving us the micro and macro view of events unfolding to create this classic Western. If you’re a fan of cinema, this is an absolute must read. Think of it as a printed version of the best DVD extra features you’ve ever seen.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Pick It Up



This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) asks us what are some of the factors that go into picking up a book to read.  There are a couple of things that will lead me to pick up a book or put it on reserve at the library.

  1.  I have certain authors who are on my “automatic” list.  Among them are Stephen King, Elizabeth George, Laura Lippman, Michael Connolly Garrison Keillor and John Scalzi.
  2. If it’s a Star Trek: New Frontier offering from Peter David.  I love this series. One of the few on-going series I’m not behind on reading, too!
  3. If the book is recommended by Stephen King.  King used to have a regular column in Entertainment Weekly that offered his thoughts and recommendations from pop culture. I found that nine times out of ten if King recommends a book, I will probably enjoy it.
  4. If the book gets good buzz from reviewers with whom I share similar tastes.
  5. The cover grabs my attention.  Yes, I know we aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but if you’ve got good cover art that grabs my attention, odds are I’ll at least try the book.
  6. If it’s a series that I enjoy and the last installment ended on a cliffhanger.
  7. If I see a trailer for a movie or TV show based on the book.
  8. If it examines the making of a favorite TV show or movie.  It’s kind of like an extended, in-depth special feature on the DVD or Blu-Ray!

Those are a couple of things for this week.  I’m sure I could think of a half dozen or so more, but those are some of the big ones.


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Top Ten Tuesday: Meeting Writers


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) reflects on the authors we’ve met or would like to meet.

Authors I’ve Met:

  1. keillor Garrison Keillor.  I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to Garrison Keillor twice and each time has been a pleasure.  I attended a concert Keillor gave at Wolf Trap and sent a couple of my books backstage to see if he’d sign them.  After the show, a small group gathered by the stage door to retrieve our signed items and Keillor delivered them himself, taking a few minutes per person to engage us in conversation.   Years later, a good friend and I attended a reading at the Nashville library by Keillor and I got to talk to him again.  Just like the first time, Keillor took time with each of us to engage in conversation.
  2. Phillip Gulley.  Gulley came for a reading at our local library and then signed books after the event.  Like Keillor, Gulley took the time to engage in conversation with the people in line and not rush anyone aside to get to the next person.
  3. Peter David.  I used to read every Star Trek tie-in novel that came out and Peter David’s were among the ones I looked forward to most.  I’ve fallen behind on my Trek novels in the past several years, but I still go out of my way get the ones written by David.  I met David at the only DragonCon I’ve attended.  He signed a couple of my first edition favorite Trek novels, including Q-Squared.
  4. Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey.  I’ve been to multiple book signings by the “two sexiest fat men alive.”  I think I’ve got a full set of signed books by the duo.
  5. Ray Stevens.  One of my favorite entertainers, I’ve wanted to see him in concert since I bought my first album on vinyl by him years ago.  And while I haven’t ever seen him in concert, he did write a memoir.  So, I met him there, bought an autographed copy and listened to him talk about his history with the Nashville music scene for an hour.
  6. J.P. Bauman.  I spent several evenings working at the Tennesee State Fair last summer and Bauman’s booth was the one next to mine.  Got a chance to meet him, hear his stories about writing and the chance to buy several autographed copies of his books.

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Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians (The Magicians #1)For most of his life, Quentin Coldwater has used the Fillory (think Narnia) books to escape the doldrums of his everyday life. Now at the age of seventeen, Quentin has been given a chance he never dreamed he had — magic is real and he can become a magician.

Instead of heading to a mundane, normal college, he enlists at Brakebills, a university of magic and begins training. The one thing the books never included was that becoming a Magician is difficult, tedious work and nowhere nearly as exciting as depicted in the novels.

Lev Grossman’s The Magicians follows Quentin and a group of students during the course of their studies at Brakebill’s. Rather than having one book equal one year of Quentin’s life, we’re treated to the highlights of his magical training — from the semester spent in Antartica to the rather odd magical game played among his school and others. The episodic nature of Grossman’s novel ensures that Quentin and the reader never get entirely comfortable with how things are going, including when Quentin and his love interest Alice test out of some of the first year and are moved up to second year early. Continue reading

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Comic Book Friday: Hawkeye, Volume 1: My Life As A Weapon

Hawkeye, Volume 1: My Life as a WeaponMy first thought when I heard Marvel was producing a new series centering on Hawkeye was that it was a marketing thing to cash in on the heroes’ new-found popularity thanks to the cinematic universe.

But then I heard the buzz that there might be more to this than meets the eye. Add in that the new series is written by Matt Fraction, author of the brilliantly subversive Sex Criminals comic books and the series had my interest.

So when my local library got in the first collected edition of the new Hawkeye, I picked it up. Continue reading

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Review: Kept in the Dark by J. Ronald M. York

Kept in the DarkFor eight weeks in the fall of 1955, J. Ronald M. York’s father was held in a Miami jail on charges of sexual abuse of a minor. For those two months, York’s father and mother corresponded with each other with almost daily letters.

Close to sixty years later, York was cleaning out his parent’s garage after their passing and found a box with the letters and some press clippings about his father’s accusations and time in jail. York never knew about the time his father spent in jail and as he began to read the correspondence, he had some questions about that time in his family’s life.

Kept in the Dark is the story of that time in the life of the York family. York offers readers the context of the letters as well as the letters themselves. The book serves as an interesting memoir as well as the power of love, forgiveness, and understanding. It’s a powerful story that will not only make you think but also run the gamut of your emotions. Having this unique look into the heart and mind of York’s parents is what makes Kept in the Dark stand out from other memoirs on the market today.

In short, this is a compelling true story and one that is fully worth reading.

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