Jan 30, 2009

The Chills of Winter by Fulford Chin Choy, a poem

The Chills of Winter

The wintry gale, at last, has arrived
Like an unwelcome guest to the home
Cold seeps past my constant pulsating
Veins into the marrow of my bones.

Misery seems ready to grasp my hands,
My feet, my whole being.
Gloomy thoughts invade the cranium
With a vengeance like a dark cloud.

How to counteract this melancholy
Blue is a challenge
Because the heart and will seem
Mesmerized by the overwhelming chill.

To break free of these icy bonds
Demands a mighty psychological hammer
Of perseverance, positive thinking and
Enhancement of the human spirit within
Especially, as well, a warm comforter.

by Fulford Chin Choy
January 2009

Jan 28, 2009

Book review: Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth in Beijing

Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth
In this novel by Xiaolu Guo, Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth in Beijing, a restless young woman leaves her poor dusty village in Zhejiang province to find her fortune in Beijing, where she lands up working as an extra in the film industry.

Life in modern Beijing and modern China for a young woman, as she travels to Xian, the home of the terra cotta warriors, and to a poor city in Manchuria, where the last emperor Pu Yi lived as a virtual prisoner of the Japanese in the last days of the Qing Dynasty.

Like all Beijing residents from the countryside, she spends three days and nights on a train returning to her village for the Chinese New Year, where she eats "longevity noodles" and listens for several days to the sounds of firecrackers.

In her love life, there is a possessive young man in Beijing, who won't let go of the relationship as she moves out of his apartment and asserts her independence. A new American boyfriend doing research in China for his Ph.D. is part of her move to independence from tradition, but he returns home soon. We follow her hectic emotional journey till in the end she finally reaches the place she wants to be.

Beijing moving fast to modernize - shoddy buildings and garbage strewn alleys, and a changing culture.

Best Mystery Awards, 2008

Left Coast Crime 2009, March 7-12, 2009, Hawaii has announced its nominees for best mystery book awards; winners will be announced at the LCC Hawaii conference on March 11.

The Mystery Award nominees are:

Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery Award

Nox Dormienda, A Long Night Sleeping by Kelli Stanley (Five Star)

Touchstone by Laurie King (Bantam)

Tell Me Pretty Maiden by Rhys Bowen (St. Martin Press)

A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen (Berkeley Prime Crime)

A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander (Harper Collins)

Hawaii Five-O

Angel Falls by Baron Birtcher (Iota)

Fractured by Karin Slaughter (Delacorte Press)

The Black Path by Asa Larsson (Delta)

July 2008, Delta

The Angel of Knowlton Place by Kate Floral (Five Star)

Mahu Fire by Neil S. Placky (Alyson Books)

Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet (Midnight Ink)


Thugs and Kisses by Sue Ann Jaffarian ( Midnight Ink)

Six Geese a Slaying by Donna Andrews (St. Martins)

Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar and Grill by N.M.Kelby (Shaye Areheart Books/Random House Group)

Greasing the Pinata by Tim Maleeny (Poisoned Pen Press)

Getting Old is to Die For by Rita Lakin (Dell/Bantam)

It Happened One Knife by Jeffrey Cohen (Berkeley Prime Crime)

Contact the LCC if you wish to attend the conference and cast your vote. Left Coast Crime Conference 2009/

Can't go to the conference? You can visit their official website for a list of mystery novels set in Hawaii.

Jan 17, 2009

Book Review: The Anteater of Death by Betty Web

The Anteater of Death
The anteater is not really a pet, only to a zookeeper who would rather feed and take care of zoo animals than do anything else. In The Anteater of Death by Betty Web, the mystery surrounds a dead man found in the bushes in a giant anteater's exhibit in a small private California zoo.

Having established that the man was shot and had died before he was pawed at by the anteater's four inch claws, the zookeeper must now try to find out why and who killed the man, a member of a prominent family with properties that include the private zoo.

Our heroine is unconventional, shuns the lifestyle of her wealthy mother, loves being a zookeeper, and lives on the harbor in a 30-foot diesel boat she inherited from her father.

The author did her research at the Phoenix Zoo, where there really is a giant anteater that loves to eat mashed bananas.

Did I say that anteaters aren't used as pets? Well, holy Moses, they are!
Just visit this website on Pua the Anteater, somebody's pet, a blog with pictures of a Tamandua anteater walking on a leash, dressed in a shirt, standing on the sofa, and so on.

Taqmandua Girl

Tamanduas are medium sized anteaters, distinct from the pigmi variety or the giant anteater featured in The Anteater of Death. All anteaters are rare, I understand, but only the giant anteater is endangered. Otherwise, no one would be allowed to have one on a leash!

Jan 15, 2009

Book Review: Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson

Lulu in Marrakech
Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson, 2008, is an enjoyable armchair travel to Morocco, shrouded in mystery and secret agents. Lulu is sent to Marrakech, ostensibly to visit her lover Ian who is a businessman and investor there, but in reality to spy on Ian's guests, friends, and the Moroccan scene in general.

Love gets in the way of Lulu's resolve, but she follows through with her tasks on finding and reporting information, and comes away with regrets, questions, and the realization that her life, now compromised, would only be more of the same, whether in North Africa or in London, her next assignment.

The novel's subplots surround the contrast between Western and Middle Eastern women, women in purdah, and women of both cultures who attempt to find independence in their lives.

The author was a finalist twice for the Pulitzer Prize and a finalist three times for the National Book Award, for her previous books which include Le Divorce, Le Mariage, and L'Affaire.

I'm hooked. I have to get and read those books.

Jan 14, 2009

Book Shop, Tea/Coffee Shop, Flower Shop mysteries

Cocooning Book List No. 4 for bibliophiles, tea and coffee lovers, and cut flower enthusiasts.

1. Murder is Binding, Lorna Barrett, bookshop mystery

2. Ghosts and Femme Fatale, Alice Kimberly, haunted bookstore
3. Uncatalogued, and Unbound, Julie Kaewert, booklovers (highly recommended series)

4. On What Grounds, Cleo Coyle, coffeeshop mystery (highly recommended series)

5. Obsession, Deceit, and Really Dark Chocolate, Kyra Davis, over caffeinated heroine frequents Starbucks in this series

6. Gunpowder Green, Death by Darjeeling, and Chamomile Mourning, Laura Childs, Charleston, South Carolina teashop (highly recommended series)

7. Snipped in the Bud, and Acts of Violets, Kate Collins, flower shop mystery

Jan 13, 2009

Antique Lovers, Archaeology mysteries

Cocooning Book List No. 3 - for those who would rather read about something less present and alive (see lists 1 and 2).

1.Tamar Myers, The Ming and I, Monet Talks, The Cane Mutiny, Den of Antiquity mysteries (highly recommended)

2. Lynn Hamilton, Moai Murders, The Thai Amulet, archaeology mysteries set in exotic locales

3. Deborah Morgan, The Majolica Murders, antique lovers mystery.

4. Jane K. Cleland, Consigned to Death, antique lovers mystery.

5. Claire Taschdjian, The Peking Man is Missing, paleontology mystery set in China.

6. Dana Cameron, A Fugitive Truth, archaeology mystery.

7.Michael Pearce, Night of the Pasha: A Mamur Zapt Mystery, Egypt in the early 1900s.

8. Elizabeth Peters, Lions in the Valley and Laughter of Dead Kings (very popular mystery novels in the Amelia Peabody Egyptology series)

It's Monday: What Are you Reading?

  The Night Hawks   by Elly Griffiths,  June 29, 2021. Netgalley Genre: mystery set in Northern England There’s nothing Ruth Galloway hates ...