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Month in review

An Acquaintance with Darkness by Ann Rinaldi
Animal Kisses by Barney Saltzberg
The Bunnies' Counting Book by Elizabeth B. Rogers
California Girl by T. Jefferson Parker
Daddy and Me by Neil Ricklen
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems
Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues by Donald Sobol
Encyclopedia Brown Keeps the Peace by Donald Sobol
Encyclopedia Brown Strikes Again by Donald Sobol
The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey
The Little Green Caterpillar by Yvonne Hooker
Little Lost Puppy by Margaret Glover Otto
Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel
My Little Opposites Book by Bob Staake
Number 9 by Wallace Wadsworth
On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt
Picture Me Colors by Deborah D'Andrea and Kaycee Hoffman
Picture Me Numbers by Deborah D'Andrea and Kaycee Hoffman
The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems
Pokémon 2000 by Tracey West
Russell and the Lost Treasure by Rob Scotton
Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton
Slide 'N' Seek Shapes by Chuck Murphy
The Spider King by Lawrence Schoonover
The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
The Straw Men by Michael Marshall
The Tokaido Road by Lucia St Clair Robson
The Top of the World by Ethel M. Dell
Watch Me Grow Kitten by DK Books

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Canadian Book Challenge: 2019-2020

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Comments for The Straw Men

The Straw MenThe Straw Men: 12/30/06

I got a copy of The Straw Men by Michael Marshall (Smith) back in 2004. It was a battered copy that came with a group of books found in the middle of the street outside of an apartment building. The apartment manager gave them to me not knowing what else to do with them but not having the heart to throw away a truckload of abused but readable books.

The Straw Men was a book that I've been wanting to read since I got it. The blurb at the back of the book sounded interesting and a little like the X-Files. Back in 2004 I was still buried under rings, rays and relays and just couldn't justify further delaying things by reading a book not committed to another BookCrosser. Now that I'm basically caught up (except for again having too many relays promised to other members) I have been able to read books completely for fun along with the ones that are earmarked for a specific release.

The book wasn't quite what I had hoped it would be. The mystery never quite got going. Although there are moments of extreme violence the story seems too withdrawn to actually be engaging. Then there is the problem of the odd English dialect. I don't know if I should blame the author (who is British) or the publisher (an American branch of Penguin books) for the mangled American English. Nonetheless the story is often times interrupted by the strangest turns of phrases that are somewhere between American and British English that make the horror quite laughable.

Here's my BookCrossing review:

This book promised to be scary but it never was. I never learned what fear is even though the blurb said I would. Bah. It was interesting and intriguing but never scary. It was nothing more than an over-written who done it with an ensemble cast and enough modern day references to quickly date the book.

Read the reviews at Everybody Lies, MPL's 3 Rs.

Desert roseGratitude #30: Cacti

Whenever I see a cactus, I think of my grandmother Joyce. She always had a cactus garden, usually in pots lined up on every available surface in her kitchen and on benches in her backyard. She had larger cacti and succulents growing in her front yard. My brother has now transplanted the potted ones to the ground in the backyard to keep the tradition of the cactus garden going.

She also had a Christmas cactus that had been mailed to her as a cutting from a friend in Texas (if I remember correctly). She planted the cactus cutting when she was living in the Bay Area and I've seen photographs of my mother as a child where the cactus is in the background. The cactus survived when she and my grandfather moved to San Diego.

Sometime after I got married she gave me the cactus and it survived the move back to the Bay Area. It is currently living on our balcony (still in the original pot) and still blooms every winter.

Anyway, yesterday after our trip to see the Japanese garden we walked to the other side of Huntington Gardens to see the cactus garden. Here it is winter, just a few days shy of the new year, and it was hot. I was roasting under Harriet and her sling. It felt like early summer. The cacti were in full bloom. It seemed like such a disconnect to the news of blizzards in Denver.

I took about thirty photographs of our trip to Huntington and most of them at the cactus garden. The new camera captured everything beautifully and I feel like a professional photographer magically took my photographs for me; they are that good.

Steps: 4000

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