So, Poppets, we are now into the 1st big holiday season and it's time to locate the turkey roaster and the platter, the gravy boat, polish the silver, set the table--whoops! I forgot!--by the time you are reading this, the turkey's all eaten, most of the ham, and only 2 pieces of pie left--the kind you don't really like! Well that gets you off to a good start on your calorie intake, when you don't care for what's available and so you don't eat it--right? Right a the moment, my right arm is in a sling due to Rotator Cuff surgery and I cross each day off until we get to Dec. 15 and then I'm hoping I can get rid of the sling entirely instead of just the times each day that my arm is out of the sling 'cause I have to do exercises.
The exercises will continue at a very good therapy place here where I went when I had my left knee replaced earlier this year, and the crew there is very nice and helpful but relentless--"pushy" comes to mind--and even though I say "Absolutely not!" when they ask if I'm ready to do another exercise or add to an existing one--I do what they say 'cause if I don't, a knee or a shoulder remains "locked" and painful and I want to move about freely.
Rufus Cooper lies beside me when I'm doing the circles and, later, the pulleys and we "talk" about how the day's gone (Rufus Cooper is our dear dog and he feels, I think, that Jim and I are slowly getting the hang of what he considers the best dog-schedule of eating, walking, napping should be but there are times he thinks we're just dumb!) So, if any of you are "putting up" with pain or just inconvenience, there's a place in Heaven for all of us who "put up with it" (whatever "it" is) and think how much more sympathetic and patient and sunny-natured we'll be! Yeah, right. Anyway, we all have a lot to be thankful for in our friends, family, jobs, and in books to read--did that segue pretty well, I thought.
There's a bunch of excellent authors coming out with titles in time for the holidays and to take on trips, so, let's look at a few. (As an aside that is pretty important--this column will be a notch shorter 'cause one can only type for so long, in a sling--but we'll hit the highlights.) The cover of the first Fiction book, "The Infernals", by the excellent author, John Connolly, has a cover that looks like Hell--no, really--with red flames, the devil's head and what look like chalk-white beckoning arms or, perhaps, flames. One reviewer said Connolly mixes science with the supernatural to produce a creepy/comical jaunt for young adults and fans alike"--and since most of you are not Young Adult readers, this leaves the rest of us.
This is about a boy, his dog, and their struggle" to escape the wrath of demons. Samuel Johnson's eyesight is bad. How bad is it? He asked a postal letter box to go out with him. Got it? However, Samuel has also foiled the invasion of Earth by "the forces of Evil" and earned the enmity of a demon and he wants to get its claws into Samuel--"and when Samuel and his faithful dachshund, Boswell, are pulled through a portal into the dark realm--which is the home of the Infernals--he gets his chance." But the Infernals have not counted on the bravery and cleverness of the boy and his meddlesome dog or a different demon--the hapless Nurd--"or the presence of two clueless policemen---to say nothing of the unlucky, eternally optimistic driver of an ice-cream truck." Now, there's a combination. As if all these weren't enough to keep track of, there's an unexpected band of little men "and if you thought demons are frightening, just wait until you meet Mr. Merryweather's Elves." Emotions are well-expressed, humor is a given in this story, Bad and Good do exist, and choices must be made. A book to "fly away on" and chuckle at--while, perhaps, shuddering slightly.
This is a Large Print book, "One Dog Night", By David Rosenfelt, and there is such a pretty dog's head on the cover, and I think it's the lawyer in the story, Andy Carpenter, who's dog it is, named Tara. Actually, my first English Setter was named Tara--such class and what beautiful eyes she had. To continue, the defense lawyer, Andy, is not in the market for a new client but for 6 year as Noah Galloway "has lived with a terrible secret", knowing his life could be shattered at any time. So, since both men have, at one time or another, had Tara in their homes and hearts, "Andy has little choice but to take on a cold case turned white hot." It's written in first person, which is not one of my favorite styles, but it can--and, in this case does--move the action along and the plot--always important to a story--is solid and, while using "Legalese' is easily understandable to the reader. Come and get it and while I didn't find a lot of Tara's thoughts in it, she's certainly a part of the story.
Okay, let's peek inside the pages of "The Night Strangers" by Chris Bohjallan. Now, here's a lead descriptive sentence that would make anyone feel a slight shifting of the ground but a greater curiosity as to the mystery involved--"In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with thirty-nine 6-inch-long carriage bolts." See what I mean? The home's new owners are Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year old girls. Chip was an airline pilot who had to ditch his plane after both engines quit and 39 people died, "a coincidence not lost on Chip when he discovers the number of bolts in that basement door."
Emily finds herself wondering about the women in the village and their interest and focus on her daughter and wonders if the women are mentally disturbed and what about her husband "whose grip on sanity has become desperately tenuous?" One of the big differences in this situation and "real" ones is that some of these people are dead. What are the real voices and what are visions that Emily is experiencing? What's out-of-body, what still relates back to the plane crash and the people who died? This one I've got to read and I'd suggest you do, too, on a dark Winter night with only one light on--you will find it entertaining but upsetting, at the same time.
Dear readers, please accept my wishes for a good Winter season ahead, sunshine even in cold weather, and if you have ice, for Heaven's sakes step carefully--we've all known of friends who've slipped and broken a bone here and there. Do get out and exercise when you can, re-vive your memories of hot choc. and Ginger cookies and remember those far less fortunate then you are--and pray for Congress to manage to really work together or go home! Take care and put fresh water out for the animals every morning and give them shelter overnight. Bye!