Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Much Ado About Nutmeg

Fox, Sarah. Much Ado About Nutmeg. LaVergne, Tennessee: Lyrical Underground, 2020.

When a man goes overboard on a yacht and a vicious sports writer's body emerges from the same waters, Marley McKinney, the owner of Flip Side, a pancake house in Wildwood Cove, begins pursuing the case. In spite of reminders from the sheriff about dangers of her involvement, she questions people she encounters who are in town for the Golden Oldies Games. Marley prepares for her wedding with Brett as she runs her business and pokes her nose into the investigation. Although I did not read the previous five installments, I really enjoyed the setting and the central characters for this series. I want to go back and read the earlier installments. It's a perfect read for when you need something on the cozy side. I received an advance electronic copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Finding Time to Read

Last week saw the birth of the International Genealogy Book Club. Over the weekend members shared to be read books in piles, shelves, and digital reading stashes. Many found another book to add to the pile.

An administrator asked, "What are some of your tricks to carve more reading time out of your day?"

As someone who read over 300 books in 2018 and over 225 in 2019, I asked myself what my tricks are. I came up with a few things:

1) Listening to audio books on my commute to work and whenever I drive longer distances. Generally speaking if my drive is more than 5 minutes, I listen to an audio book. Yes, I occasionally need a break from it. I sometimes allow myself one work commute (either going or coming home) to clear my mind. If I get tired of listening on the road, I change to the radio, a CD, or downloaded music for awhile. However, I listen to audio books the majority of the time I drive.

2) Reading during lunch break. I usually either take my own lunch or grab something in the library's cafe which I take to my office. This allows me to read while I'm eating, and it gives me about a half-hour to read without interruption afterwards.

3) Reading as I man the service desk in the mornings. I open the library most days. Most students simply print assignments from our computers or retrieve print jobs sent from their rooms. Most of my job responsibilities require special software not available at the front desk. I do not usually get a lot of questions during this time so it's a good time to read.While it amounts to only 15 minutes or so, it enables me to knock out a few pages.

4) Kitty cuddle time. My cats love to sit on my lap as I read. I can even pet them and read. Turning pages may interrupt the petting momentarily, but they wait for me to resume! I read faster than I used to read. If I'm reading fiction or popular non-fiction, my rate is roughly a page per minute. If I'm reading an NGSQ article that needs to be studied or something I may use in a presentation, it takes a little longer, depending on how many notes I take, references I check, etc.

5) Morning devotional time. I read through the Bible each year using a reading plan--usually one in the YouVersion Bible app. I also use some sort of through the Bible daily devotional. These books usually contain one or two pages per day. I also read some other Christian work during the devotion time. It may be a book on Christian living, a Bible study, a devotional commentary, or other book. I try to read a chapter per day (or its equivalent).

6) A chapter per day plan. This works really well for books of short stories or essay-driven books. For example, Generations and Change offers 16 academic essays on genealogy or family history. Reading one essay/chapter per day allows me to finish it in 16 days.

7) As I catalog books. I must confess to reading every picture book which comes across my desk to add to the collection. We don't purchase a lot--usually only the Caldecott winners. However, I enjoy these momentary escapes into my childhood! We receive gift collections. Most books end up in an annual book sale, but I will hold an interesting book destined for the sale in my office to read during lunch and then put it in a box heading to the book sale room.

8) On the plane. If I'm flying, I usually read something. Sometimes it is a book; sometimes it may be NGSQ.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Facets of Death

Stanley, Michael. Facets of Death. Naperville, Illinois: Poisoned Pen Press, 2020.

In this prequel to  Kubu Bengu series, a heist at the world's largest diamond mine sends the straight-out-of-the-university Bengu and CID colleagues into investigation mode, especially when the robbers are killed but the diamonds remain missing. Suspicion falls to a local witch doctor, but the young officer comes up with a plan to solve the case. Will he succeed or fail? The novel felt disjointed to me because the chapters were so short. Ultimately the mystery itself was gratifying, but the novel's flow stymied by the writing. I received an advance review electronic copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.