Monday, August 30, 2010


     Back from San Pedro, Ports o' Call Village.  I sell balloons and temporary tattoos there on weekends throughout the Summer.  Interesting day.  It's been sizzling hot all week long and then today cooled off to a chilly sixty-eight degrees with a wind chill factor of fifty-five.  

     So it was a strange weekend.  It seemed like it would be a money maker, but in the end, it was a lot of people walking around asking questions with no intention of whipping out their wallet.  Yesterday, I arrived at approximately one-thirty pm.  I stayed four hours with a pounding headache only to earn fifteen dollars.  Why?  Because, I own the business and that's just how it goes.  Fortunately, I could actually leave after four hours whereas in a Mall, per say, one must remain open the entire day within the range of hours a mall is open.  Otherwise you are fined or lose your space.  That could happen to me in San Pedro, but it's highly unlikely as the landlord is a bit lax.  He knows the area and when the sellers are likely to split.  

     Today, I was there from one o'clock to seven o'clock.  A little better, but not really worth the drive.  It happens.  It was windy and that beats up the balloons.  I have a canopy with screens and the other vendors take the Mickey out of me and call it Tajmahal.  It kind of looks like a tattoo harem as opposed to a vendor spot.  That's fine by me.  I like it.  What will they think of next at K-Mart?  It's a pop up and everything.

     The good news is that I found an M.C. Beaton book I had not read at Borders!  I found two, actually and the title of one I do not yet own, but will be searching for on E-bay inevitably.  I opened up Kissing Christmas Goodbye and was greeted with my favorite character's in the Coswalds.   Ms. Bloxby was a treat and Sir Charls Fraith and Roy Silver made Agatha's Christmas party a night to remember.  I'm also suddenly intriqued by Hemlock...

     Read it and find out why I love these little mystery novels.  Their inexpensive and an absolute must for anyone who likes Lilian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who.. Series or Cleo Coyle's Coffee Murder Mysteries. 
If you grab one, I would love to hear how you enjoyed it!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


     To complete a novel.

Is there a greater feeling?  Probably, but it's still in my top five!  It's a sort of Ahhh, and then an Awww, I wish it wasn't over.  

I actually only got through page 701 before my eyes got droopy and I nodded off.  Upon awakening, I picked up the book and sped through the last twenty odd pages.  The ending of Careless In Red is rewarding and cliff-hanging and some things get wrapped up and others don't.  It is actually a very good ending as it is so much like life and in that sense, the story was quite believable.  
I have heard that Elizabeth George has other novels and I wonder if Sir Thomas Finley will appear in any of them.  I am definitely off to the book store to catch whatever else out there I can find from this author.  

Any recommendations?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Oh...If it's British, I really Like it!

     As I have completed all M.C. Beaton novels available, (Boo Hoo!)  I had to go investigating.  I feel like Alexander the Great...I wept, for there were no more books to read!  Alas, a browse through Borders Vine & Sunset thoroughly disabused me of that idea.  I am back in business and loving it.

     While  perusing the Mystery Thriller section and actually not really finding anything interesting, I spotted Careless In Red, by Elizabeth George.  Nice cover.  Got to skimming the back of the book and I liked the concept.  I like red.  I liked the line, "He found the body on the forty-third day of his walk..." Got me.  Right there, it was more interesting than anything else I had picked up and in fact, before I happened across it, I had almost reluctantly given up my search.

     This is a fascinating tale.  It has everything I like!  Set in Cornwall near New Scotland Yard, handsome guy, evil women, surfers, suspense and a dead body.  What's not to like?  Well, it was, I must admit, a bit difficult to follow at first.  Some of the lines in the book are a little off my reality point.  I am speaking of the characters and how they talk to each other.  I am not quite sure they are believable.  I can stretch my suspension of disbelief however, as the story is good.  The descriptions are excellent and the suspense is riveting.  It seemed to jump around a bit at first, but I realized later the necessity of it as the background on the characters needs filling in.  I particularly like the outbursts of one D.S. Havers, a Chick-Cop who arrives on scene and wreaks havoc on unsuspecting suspects. It's this British dry sarcasm that I absolutely adore.  You'll just have to read the book and meet this lady.

     I am on page 627 of 725 and still interested.  So that debunks my unbelievable theory.   I stuck with it.  Not only this, but I enjoy a long book.  I love Stephen King for that reason.  His novels run long and fierce with stories within stories and this one goes long and I'm liking it.  I am sure to finish it tonight as less than a hundred pages will keep me up until I find out who did it at least!  I recommend this book.  I had it at work with me today in the boutique and a customer spied it.  She said she liked Elizabeth George and then recommended another author as well whose name I cannot remember.  I'll remember it though, and when I do, I'll be reading a book and reporting on it!

     It's 11:31 and it's been a long day.  The boutique was busy as usual and I have retail feet.  I've grabbed a late snack of sauteed vegetables and a toasted chicken taquito and I'm off to bed with the good book to get to the bottom of it.  Cheers!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reader's Thumb: More from M.C. Beaton

Reader's Thumb: More from M.C. Beaton: " My thumb really hurts today. I've been plowing through a book and both thumbs are sore. How cool is that? It's not, I just need to i..."

More from M.C. Beaton

     My thumb really hurts today.  I've been plowing through a book and both thumbs are sore.  How cool is that?  It's not, I just need to invent a thumb thimble or something to cover the tip with so my thumbs don't get raw. 

     M.C. Beaton, author of Death of a "insert Noun",  I discovered has a new series.  Well, it's new to me as I hadn't read them or heard of them yet.  Having slurped up every last Hamish MacBeth story, I mourned at Borders in front of the Mystery/Thriller B. section.  Until...I found that M.C. Beaton has another series written in a very similar style.  The Agatha Raisin novels are every bit as delightful at the Hamish MacBeth ones.  I am in love with them!  

     This series stars middle aged Agatha Raisin who sold her successful P.R. company in London and took early retirement in a small village  a little North.  She is abrasive and rude and somehow forgivably so.  (I just made up that word.  I hope you like it.Agatha is surrounded by an enterouge of terribly funny characters including an Asian Policeman, a possibly gay ex-employee, her sometimes drop-in sexual excursion-the younger, Sir Charles Fraith, and the ever lady-like Vicar's wife, Mrs. Bloxby.  I might add that Mrs. Bloxby is a surprising treat as on occasion, she does things completely out of character that make you laugh out-loud.

     Some of the Characters grow and others remain their idiotic selves,such as Agatha's love interest and eternal crush, James Lacey,  but that is all part of the fun in reading one of these amusing tales.  One begins to expect people to show up and/or disappear and yet, the suspense of the mystery itself never fades.  They are page turners, every one and I dare you to try to fall asleep while reading one. In addition to the trials and tribulations of murder and mayhem, Agatha is in the midst of middle age and not confronting it.  

If you have not discovered these little gems, run, don't walk,  to  your nearest bookseller and pick one up.  It's a lifetime of entertainment for those of you who enjoy mysteries and light reading.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who Done it?

     Murder Mysteries are probably my favorite type of stories.  Although I enjoy complicated and serious novels, sometimes, one just wants a bit of interesting fluff.  M.C. Beaton has created exactly that with her Hamish MacBeth series,  all entitled:  Death of a (insert noun).  i.e., Death of a Nag, Death of a Dreamer, etc.

     I came across these wonderful books last January.  Typically, January is the slowest month of the year for retailers.  Most people are paying off their credit cards and not shopping.  This leaves salespeople bored out of their minds while chained to a store all day that no one enters.  There I was, working in a boutique in South Pasadena, surrounded by beautiful clothes and no customers.  It was pouring sheets of rain and there wasn't a chance in hell I'd have anyone come in in that weather.  I locked up the front door and made my way in the rain with no umbrella, to a small mystery book store on Mission Street.  The owner was there and recommended a little book called Death of a Witch.  I'd never heard of the series and was skeptical, but as I knew I had seven more hours of boredom to endure, I bought the book and sauntered off in the rain back to work.

     To my surprise, Death of a Witch was  a delightful story!  Centered in a small village in the Highlands of Scotland, the scene revolves around one Hamish MacBeth, local constable and layabout.  He's got flaming red hair and an amicable demeanor.  The tale was amusing and gripping simultaneously and I read the entire book in one sitting.  I enjoyed it so much that I went in search of more.  As of now, I have read somewhere along the lines of twenty from this series.  The characters are consistent and the camaraderie in the village almost makes me wish it were a real place I could go to live and the Hamish were a real man.  

     It became sort of a game in the boutique for my boss and me.  I left her one to read.  She read it and showed up the next week with another and left it for me.  They are just perfect little novels that beat television any day.  If you enjoy easy reading that is light, humorous and entertaining, then this will be a joy ride for you.  My only disappointment is that I have read them all and there are no more to read!  I hope  the author will continue to write. You can find these books anywhere books are sold and they are worth every penny.  They literally made me laugh out loud.  Get out your thumb thimble as you won't be able to put them down.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Reader's Thumb

     As a stand-up comic, I live in LA and work three day jobs.  Nights I spend either on stage at a gig I booked, seeking a new stage to be booked at, or working on material for my show.  I also have my personal enhancement time which may include studying subjects I enjoy, working out, dining with friends or relaxing at the beach.  There is one past-time however, that I do every single day.  That is read.  

     Before I close my eyes at night, I lay in bed, turn on my reading light, and settle in to what ever novel I am on that day.  This is how I came up with the name for the blog.  I noticed that my fingertips and particularly my thumbs began to hurt.  At first, I could not figure out what was causing it.  Then, just out of nowhere, it dawned on me that the holding of a book in my hand and the turning of pages was absorbing the moisture from my thumb.  Hence, Reader's Thumb.  It's my name for the strange sensation I feel in my thumb after hours of reading.  I also began searching for solutions to solve it as it was beginning to be painful.  I believe similar "injuries" occur with people who work in packing.  Some years ago, I worked in a Vitamin Supplement company wherein I took orders and then shipped them.  My hands were constantly dry from the packing materials and I suspect that is what is occurring in my thumb.  It is raw from reading.

Now, I coat my thumb with cocoa butter.  It works for me, but it does rub off onto the pages.  Another way of handling it is to switch hands.  I noticed I tend to hold the book in my right hand.  I started holding it in my left and alternating.  I also began holding the book with my thumb in the back and my fingers in the front.  It may  suffice to use a Thimble, which has crossed my mind.  If you have an idea to contribute, please comment here as I would love to hear it!

If you have experienced this, you are not alone! To all readers out there who have Reader's Thumb, I am with you and loving it.  It's a sign of a true book-worm.

Tomorrow, I will discuss some rather interesting and amusing books I have read of late.  Please join me.