Archive for April, 2013


From the book Legends: edited by Robert Silverberg.

Paperback: 715 pages

Publisher: Tor Fantasy; (August 1, 2001)

ISBN-10: 0765300354

 The Runner of Pern: Anne McCaffrey: 60 pgs.


pern_zps2219bb0e[1](sketch by Michael Whelan)

From Publishers Weekly (entire book)

Microcosmic glimpses of broadly imagined worlds and their larger-than-life characters distinguish this hefty volume of heavyweight fantasy. Silverberg collects 11 previously unpublished short "novels" by genre celebrities, each a window on a sprawling saga that has shaped the way modern fantasy fiction is written and read. Stephen King weighs in with "The Little Sisters of Eluria," set early in the Dark Tower saga and deftly weaving threads of horror, quest fantasy and the western into a dangerous snare for his indefatigable gunslinger, Roland of Gilead. Ursula K. Le Guin contributes "Dragonfly," a tale about a young woman who would be a wizard that offers a savvy dissection of the sexual politics that govern Le Guin’s Earthsea empire. Neo-Arthurian fantasy gets its due in George R.R. Martin’s "The Hedge Knight," a prequel to the Song of Ice and Fire series. Only a sliver of fantasy insinuates Silverberg’s own "The Seventh Shrine," a Majipoor murder mystery that becomes a fascinating exploration of clashing cultures. Although most of the selections are sober sidebars to serious literary fantasy cycles, Terry Pratchett’s "The Sea and Little Fishes" is a giddy Discworld romp that pits cantankerous witch Granny Weatherwax against her crone cronies, and Orson Scott Card’s "Grinning Man" is corn-fed tall talk in which Alvin Maker outwits a crooked miller in the alternate America of Hatrick River. Some entries, among them Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar tale "The Wood Boy" and Anne McCaffrey’s "Runner of Pern," shine only as light glosses on their authors’ earlier achievements. Still, there’s enough color, vitality and bravura displays of mythmaking in this rich sampler, which also includes tales by Terry Goodkind, Tad Williams and Robert Jordan, to sate faithful fans and nurture new readers on the stuff of legends still being created.

The Runner of Pern is a short story by Anne McCaffrey..

Anyone who knows me knows I love the Pern books!  So long ago when The Legends books came out and each one had a short story by Anne… well.. even though I am not a short story lover, those books became part of my “library”!

(Prior to the return of threads falling and Dragons flying in the sky searing the threads)…The Runner of Pern is about a young girl named Tenna who is born to a family of runners.  Although Drums could send messages faster runners were still used to transfer many types of messages that weren’t “emergencies”.

Runners would be the equivalent to mailmen..but (of course) they run instead of drive to deliver the mail .

The story revolves around Tenna and her becoming a runner and then letting her run to deliver mail farther and farther away, so that she might earn her way to being a Journeyman.

One nite while running someone on a “runner beasts” runs past her knocking her into a *sticklebush* which leaves mean needles under your skin and could get nasty if not gotten out.  Tenna winds up staying at the Hold to be doctored and while there she gets to go to her first Gather.  There she meets the young man that nearly ran her over with his beast and a friendship is made.

Anne could have written so many small stories that happened on Pern during the time she wrote her books.  Every little thing just makes Pern  more and more “real” to one who loves her stories.

It was a good short story.. it won’t turn me into a short story lover but memories of what is happening at the Weyrs while Tenna is becoming a runner churns in my mind while I read this story.

If you are not a lover of Pern, more than likely this story wouldn’t mean a thing to you.  It’s a small part of a very big story of Pern.

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Gifts Galore!

Like, Wow!  What a mail day!

My girlfriend, Michelle, had given me an Amazon gift card and I finally used it… (thank you again Michelle!)

I got some great stuff!!!


Three books: The Hiding Place, Chekov’s Enterprise, and The Apothecary.

And I got the collection of the 6 Original Star Trek Movies! (yes I have them already but only in VHS and I don’t have a VHS machine hooked up.)



One day there will be a Trek Marathon that’s for sure!!!!!

My favorite book of the three is Chekov’s Enterprise!



This is an old version of the book,  and the one I owned long ago (I still have it although it is very water-warped).  I loved this book and have wanted to replace it forever, but the old “you have one (warped though it is)” kept me from buying another copy.

When I opened the package it came in (it arrived all alone as it’s a used copy).. I grinned from ear to ear  because I already know how fantastic this book is and how much i laughed reading it and loved discovering Walter’s great sense of humor!  If you like the Originals this is a really “feel good” book because of enjoying Walter’s sense of humor over things. 

I realize it’s about the making of ST 1.. and many people don’t like the first movie.. but I have found good things about all the movies, not just the “even numbers” as many claim.  But the truth is this book is “behind the scenes” and things only Walter did or saw or heard, which mean it consists of only times that he was on the set. (and we all know the “crew” was not in every scene of any movie.

Anyway… Walter is really an enjoyable author to read so if you think “maybe”.. go ahead and read it, you won’t be sorry!

Well this perked me up!  Maybe now my reading will get better too!!

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Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson.

Publisher: Avon Books/Bard; Later Printing edition (1998)

ASIN: B0047Z0NB0


"Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain-which is to say, all of it."

After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson-best selling author of The Mother Tongue and Made in America-decided to return to the United States. ("I had recently read," Bryson writes, "that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another,so it was clear that my people needed me.") But before departing, he set out ona grand farewell tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home.

Veering from the ludicrous to the endearing and back again, Notes from a Small Island is a delightfully irreverent jaunt around the unparalleled floating nation that has produced zebra crossings, Shakespeare, Twiggie Winkie’s Farm, and places with names like Farleigh Wallop and Titsey. The result is an uproarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain, from the satiric pen of an unapologetic Anglophile.

For some reason (and I have no idea what it is) I seem to be reading like molasses flows in winter….. and, AND.. it’s not a joyous as it normally is.  The fact is.. I almost don’t feel like reading!  Wow.. can’t remember the last time this has happened!

Anyway.. I broke from Fantasy Fiction to Read Notes from a Small Island.  I adore Bill Bryson’s writings about his “walk abouts”.  But I will admit, I began with the BEST of Bryson when I read A Walk in the Woods.   And so each book since then is difficult measuring up.

In Notes from a Small Island Bryson either walks or takes a train or bus to all parts of his beloved England and of course he “wise cracks” through the whole thing!

It’s not like I didn’t chuckle.. I did.

And it’s not like I didn’t Laugh Outloud… I did.

But as with the last Fantasy book I read (which I also enjoyed) I wasn’t grabbing at the book the instant my fat butt hit the chair.  I never thought I’d say that about a Bryson book.  And in all fairness I would tell others who would consider reading this.. to do so!   For surely I am in a reading slump and nothing is reaching in and grabbing me out of it. (kinda scary when Bill Bryson can’t pull me out!)

Notes from a Small Country should be read by anyone who is considering a trip to England and by anyone who enjoys Bryson’s sense of humor, which is outstanding!

I am so desperate to get out of this slump I am going to read a “short story”! (anyone who knows me knows I am not fond of short stories, though not long ago I read 2 that I think highly of)… so one might ask.. what short story will you read in hopes that it takes you from this slump?

Go ahead… ask!

Well, it would be a short story by my favorite author Anne McCaffrey! (surprised? I thought not!).. Its in a book of short stories called Legends edited by Robert Silverberg and the story is called Runner of Pern.

So.. there you have it.  ..and back to Pern I go!

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Throne of Jade



(Book 7 of Once Upon a Time)

Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik.

Paperback 398 pgs
Publisher: Del Rey; (2006)
ISBN-10: 0345481291


jade_zpsd9c9ea3a[1] novik_zpsd4c0959e[1]

(298 pgs in trade paperback size)


When Britain intercepted a French ship and its precious cargo–an unhatched dragon’s egg–Capt. Will Laurence of HMS Reliant unexpectedly became master and commander of the noble dragon he named Temeraire. As new recruits in Britain’s Aerial Corps, man and dragon soon proved their mettle in daring combat against Bonaparte’s invading forces.
Now China has discovered that its rare gift, intended for Napoleon, has fallen into British hands–and an angry Chinese delegation vows to reclaim the remarkable beast. But Laurence refuses to cooperate. Facing the gallows for his defiance, Laurence has no choice but to accompany Temeraire back to the Far East–a long voyage fraught with peril, intrigue, and the untold terrors of the deep. Yet once the pair reaches the court of the Chinese emperor, even more shocking discoveries and darker dangers await

So.. I ventured out once again with Temeraire and Laurence while the Chinese discover one of their precious Dragons is in the hands of a “nobody” and using him for “war” instead of treating him in the high regard that the Chinese hold them..  So they go to England to claim Temeraire as their own and to take him back to China.  They didn’t figure on the bond between Laurence and Temeraire. 

That bond is what kept me reading book two.  Although surprising things  happen along the way to China, it is the building of the bond between Laurence and Temeraire that is the best part of both of the books that I have read.  I needed to know that even the Prince from China could not alter that bond.  But did that happen? Tsk, tsk.. I”m not telling!

Both of the Tereraire books I have enjoyed.  I love the dragons. Much different from any others I’ve read about and well characterized in Naomi’s writings.

As much as I’ve liked both books I am breaking away from reading book 3 and letting myself read something away from books such as these.  Generally I have to read to the end which is only one more book, but I feel the need for a break.  So I may well read something that isn’t even Fantasy. (*gasp!) Have no fear, I am ahead of the game.. I signed up to read one book and I’ve read 6 plus added one audio (7 total). I will most likely be back to another Fantasy book before OUaT is over!

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Book 6 for Once Upon a Time…

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik.


Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Del Rey; Reissue edition (March 28, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0345481283


(right side is the book I have containing 3 books in one)


From Publishers Weekly

In this delightful first novel, the opening salvo of a trilogy, Novik seamlessly blends fantasy into the history of the Napoleonic wars. Here be dragons, beasts that can speak and reason, bred for strength and speed and used for aerial support in battle. Each nation has its own breeds, but none are so jealously guarded as the mysterious dragons of China. Veteran Capt. Will Laurence of the British Navy is therefore taken aback after his crew captures an egg from a French ship and it hatches a Chinese dragon, which Laurence names Temeraire. When Temeraire bonds with the captain, the two leave the navy to sign on with His Majesty’s sadly understaffed Aerial Corps, which takes on the French in sprawling, detailed battles that Novik renders with admirable attention to 19th-century military tactics. Though the dragons they encounter are often more fully fleshed-out than the stereotypical human characters, the author’s palpable love for her subject and a story rich with international, interpersonal and internal struggles more than compensate.

I wasn’t certain what to expect nor if I would even like the story.  Of course I love dragons and Naomi Novik’s dragon’s are very likeable and very good characters!  However, I can’t say I have the least bit of historical interest in Napoleon! And so, although the dragons and Will Laurence, who becomes the rider of Temeraire, are all excellent characters I found myself wondering when the “war” would be of no interest to me whatsoever.

I will admit, that I loved the beginning and middle of this book but as it neared the end of book one, I wasn’t as taken with the story as I hoped I would be. 

Also the dragons are very different from any I’ve read of, being large enough to have several men on each one for reasons of warfare.  I had some difficulty “seeing” what all was going on and then other scenes when Laurence and Temeraire are alone my assumption of the dragon becomes that he is “smaller” more the size of the dragon in the Pern books.

Anyway.. I did like the book very much..Temeraire is certainly a dragon worth reading about…. but I have to admit I am not certain I will read book 2 as “the war” just isn’t  grabbing the  history part of me to hold my interest.. I will check into book 2 a bit more before I decide if I will go on or read something totally different.

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…Tiny Daisies around my Crape Myrtle


below: my new Crape Myrtle Bush…


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Book 5 for Once Upon a Time.


A Spell for Chameleon (three complete novels) by Piers Anthony.

Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Del Rey; (March 12, 1987)
ISBN-10: 0345347536


(original cover for A spell for Chameleon)


Book Description

Release date: March 12, 1987

Xanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled–where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. That is, except for Bink of North Village. He was sure he possessed no magic, and knew that if he didn’t find some soon, he would be exiled. According to the Good Magician Humpfrey, the charts said that Bink was as powerful as the King or even the Evil Magician Trent. Unfortunately, no one could determine its form. Meanwhile, Bink was in despair. If he didn’t find his magic soon, he would be forced to leave….

Many years ago I read this book… and actually read the first 12 books of the now 38 books about Xanth!

Xanth books:

As of January 2013 there are 36 Xanth books published and one in progress. Here they are listed in order of publication.
1 A Spell for Chameleon (1977)
2 The Source of Magic (1979)
3 Castle Roogna (1979)
4 Centaur Aisle (1982)
5 Ogre, Ogre (1982)
6 Night Mare (1983)
7 Dragon on a Pedestal (1983)
8 Crewel Lye (1984)
9 Golem in the Gears (1986)
10 Vale of the Vole (1987)
11 Heaven Cent (1988)
12 Man from Mundania (1989)
13 Isle of View (1990)
14 Question Quest (1991)
15 The Color of Her Panties (1992)
16 Demons Don’t Dream (1992)
17 Harpy Thyme (1993)
18 Geis of the Gargoyle (1994)
19 Roc and a Hard Place (1995)
20 Yon Ill Wind (1996)
21 Faun & Games (1997)
22 Zombie Lover (1998)
23 Xone of Contention (1999)
24 The Dastard (2000)
25 Swell Foop (2001)
26 Up In A Heaval (2002)
27 Cube Route (2003)
28 Currant Events (2004)
29 Pet Peeve (2005)
30 Stork Naked (2006)
31 Air Apparent (2007)
32 Two to the Fifth (2008)
33 Jumper Cable (2009)
34 Knot Gneiss (2010)
35 Well-Tempered Clavicle (2011)
36 Luck of the Draw (2012)
37 Esrever Doom (2013)
38 Board Stiff

I honestly don’t remember a lot about the individual books (which is why I am rereading this one, that and the fact this hardback was in my brothers books which I kept) except that Xanth looks much like Florida (and the author is from Florida) and that the books are full of “puns”!   (re: one might get a pair of shoes from a shoe tree and you don’t want to be near a Tangle Tree as it would tangle you up!)

Bink searches for the Good Magician Humphrey to see if he can tell him what his Magic is so that he won’t be sent away for having no magic.  The magician tells him he has high magic but he can’t say what it is and so Bink is exiled to Mundania. (Mundania must be Florida! lol)

There he meets the evil magician Trent.. and the adventure begins !

As you can see from the list, this book was written back in 1977!  I’m sure many of you weren’t even born yet! But the books held up through the years and are still going on!  Amazing that Piers Anthony could be basically writing “the same story” for so many years!

Should you decide to give A Spell for Chameleon a try I suggest you look in thrift stores or library sales as they are more than old enough to find a good deal somewhere! lol

This is definitely a good book for Once Upon a Time.

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So… a few books have come into my apartment…  some are “used” some are new.  The new ones are Speaking from Among the Bones (a Flavia mystery) and from a proper book store: The Black House. (gift certificate).  The others were used books.


Most of them will work for RIP if I can hold off that long!

Then there is one other new book.  A friend from California sent me an Amazon gift certificate (think she knows me??).  Kris W., my young “let’s go to the movies” buddy from out west.

Anyway: I’ve been wanting this little book about New Providence (NJ) where I grew up.  I had already known that there were photo’s from the 1800’s  on up of the town.  And that many homes and bldgings I knew still existed there.  So I thought “one day I will get this book” because I love the town I grew up in.  And so when Kris W. sent the gift I sent for the book… it was all I imagines..and more.!


I was looking at all the photo’s and trying to vision the parts of town when they were still dirt roads and recognizing many homes/ buildings when I turned the page.. page 35 to be exact…

There stood 10 young people listed at school guards…

And before my very eyes stood my mother!  I had never seen a photo of her so young!  Only after she had my brother did I see any photo’s.. but she had not changed!


np2_zps4d6a7ba7[1]   This is my mother.  A school guard.  Standing in front of the same Elementary school I went to.  I never saw my mother before she was a mom…and with her hair worn down!… my brother looked exactly like her when he was very young!… I wonder what she would think if she were alive to see a photo of herself in a book!…It makes me wish, so much, that I knew information about my mother and father and grandparents.  All I know is my mother was adopted by George and Gertrude Osborn of New Providence…  I will always wish I knew my “history”.. good, bad or indifferent.. I wish I knew.

So… one never knows what will  happen when you open a book to read!

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Murder She Said: Agatha Christie


Starring Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple.


I can hear you now… Margaret who????   Ah yes , well Margaret Rutherford began her movie career in 1936!  My brother was born in 1939… and he loved Margaret Rutherford movies! 

Although she became most famous for her Agatha Christie movie Margaret Rutherford actually was in 56 movies!

I find myself wondering why more young people don’t watch  Turner Classic Movies… They certainly would be movies never seen by most of them with all “new” actors and actresses to discover. 

I also have noticed (for many years now) how the British don’t “banish” their elderly actors but use them for as long as they are willing to work.  I think some of that is because the British have more love for the theater than Americans do.  Therefore they don’t feel “banished” from acting when they are not in front of a camera.  They simply go on stage!

Strangely enough I recently saw an interview with Maggie Smith (who rarely does interviews)  she was talking about her latest movie.  She was asked why she didn’t do more in America and she said:  “I scare America.  America doesn’t do old”.    .. and she’s right.   It’s a sad thing but I find it to be true.  Americans don’t honor their elderly.  They don’t even seem to like them very much.  And the elderly  (who can afford it) try to look young again, so that they are accepted.

And yet.. even before I found myself in the position of being “old”, I had found that I really enjoyed movies that had “old people” in them.   Those movies always had a really good story.  It’s true there weren’t a lot of chase scenes or special effects.. but the stories are always outstanding… always.

I hope I don’t feel this way because I have become old.  I don’t think that is it…  I think as far as movies go… that America just doesn’t get it.  … and that makes me sad.  I wish more people would watch the “old movies”.  They would get to see great acting and fantastic stories that, although they are old, would be new to them.

Why don’t you try it sometime?  You might enjoy it!

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Watership Down


Book 3 for Once Upon a Time…..

My first audio book!lllllllll

Watership Down by Richard Adams: Read by Roy Dotrice.


Plot summary

In the Sandleford warren, Fiver, a young runt rabbit who is a seer , receives a frightening vision of his warren’s imminent destruction. When he and his brother Hazel fail to convince their chief rabbit of the need to evacuate, they set out on their own with a small band of rabbits to search for a new home, barely eluding the Owsla, the warren’s military caste.

The travelling group of rabbits find themselves following the leadership of Hazel, previously an unimportant member of the warren. They travel through dangerous territory, with Bigwig and Silver, both former Owsla, as the strongest rabbits among them.

Fiver’s visions promise a safe place in which to settle, and the group eventually finds Watership Down, an ideal location to set up their new warren. They are soon reunited with Holly and Bluebell, also from the Sandleford Warren, who reveal that Fiver’s vision was true and the entire warren was destroyed by humans.

Although Watership Down is a peaceful habitat, Hazel realises there are no does (female rabbits), thus making the future of their new home uncertain. With the help of a seagull named Kehaar, they locate a nearby warren, Efrafa, which is overcrowded and has many does. Hazel sends a small emissary to Efrafa to present their request for does. While waiting for the group to return, Hazel and Pipkin scout the nearby Nuthanger Farm to find two pairs of hutch rabbits there; Hazel leads a raid on the farm the next day, returning with two does and a buck. When the emissary returns, Hazel and his rabbits learn Efrafa is a police state led by the despotic  General Woundwort, and the squad of rabbits dispatched there manage to return with little more than their lives intact.

However, the group does manage to identify an Efrafan doe named Hyzenthlay who wishes to leave the warren and can recruit other does to join in the escape as well. Hazel and Bigwig devise a plan to rescue the group and join them on Watership Down, after which the Efrafan escapees start their new life of freedom to do as they please.

Shortly thereafter the Owsla of Efrafa, led by Woundwort himself arrives to attack the newly formed warren at Watership Down, but through Bigwig’s bravery and loyalty and Hazel’s ingenuity, the Watership Down rabbits seal the fate of the Efrafan general by unleashing the Nuthanger Farm watchdog. Although a formidable fighter by rabbit standards Woundwort is apparently killed by the dog. His body however is never found and at least one of his former followers continues to believe in his survival. Hazel is nearly taken by a cat, but is saved by the farm girl Lucy, the owner of the escaped hutch rabbits.

The story’s epilogue tells the reader of how Hazel, dozing in his burrow one "chilly, blustery morning in March" some years later, is visited by El-ahrairah, the rabbit-folk hero who invites Hazel to join his own Owsla. Leaving his friends and no-longer-needed body behind, Hazel departs Watership Down with the spirit-guide, "running easily down through the wood, where the first primroses were beginning to bloom."

First let me say that I adore Roy Dotrice.  He’s a marvelous British actor who I was thrilled to have met a number of times, but mostly when I first met him and his wife, Kay and one of his daughters, Karen at a tennis  match in Florida. 

royandme1_zps1a98e71d[1]     rFather_zps813fc7e6[1]

The most wonderful people you’d want to meet.  Roy has been in many movies, but my introduction to him was in a television series called Beauty and the Beast starring Ron Perlman  and Linda Hamilton.  Roy played the character of “Father”, and I took an instant liking to him.  Roy’s daughter Karen was a child actor and began her career being the little blonde girl in Mary Poppins.

Anyway.. I love Roy and am enchanted with his voice. My “sis”, Cath, across the pond knew one of the things that I searched for was the audio book of Watership Down because Roy was the one reading it.  And so this year, for my birthday, what appears in my mail from Cath but a package containing an original (1974)  recording of Roy reading Watership Down!!

When I put the first audio tape in to listen I broke into this huge smile.  There was Roy! Albeit a younger voice than I remembered but… it was Roy!!!  I was once again smitten just listening to his voice.

It didn’t take long however until I was hearing the story and not just his voice.  He would change reflection and tones for different the different rabbits as he read Richard Adams classical story.  The first hour of audio went quickly. Each tape is about an hour long and I loved every minute of it!

I wish I could tell you that anyone could get this particular audio but I know that isn’t true.. but there are other audio’s of this book, should you choose to listen to it instead of reading. 

I will admit that since I am home most of the time it’s not easy to sit and listen rather then holding a book in my hands and reading.  But in this case it was a rare treat indeed. :o) (Thanks again Cath!)

I read Watership Down eons ago and remembered very little of the book so I got to enjoy it as if this were the first time I ever knew of it.

This is a classic story.  It may not be for everyone, but it is one that has stood the test of time, and so is one that should be read at least once in ones life.

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