Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Yet Another Odd Day

Today began with the sound of rain falling hard enough to wake me up. Then a bit later the rain was gone and the wind started howling. Although the temperature finally got up to the 50s, it still felt cold with the wind. Not only that, but the wind was dry enough to remove most traces of the rain in short order. So now it is drear and overcast and calm. Quite a change form yesterday's rather pleasant 70s, sunny, and light breeze. Springtime in Colorado continues! (At least no snow - L reported snow yesterday and today in the mountains.) On to bigger and better topics.

This weekend I installed the PC version of the Kindle book reader on the laptop here. It is an amusing experience to read via the Kindle application. On the plus side, they have made it as pain free and simple to use as possible. It is actually tolerable to read for long periods. But there are gotchas. I am one who typically scans both pages of a paperback book in an extended pass as I read. You can't do that in the Kindle app. That is somewhat ameliorated by the larger font sizing in the app versus the paperback, but I still find that it slows my reading time versus a paperback. Not to mention the continuous tap-tap-tap of the next page button as I read - but I suspect that a good mind reading application is still a ways off. {*grin*} My recommendation? Give it a try and see what you think. And here's a gem from XKCD about the Kindle:

Speaking of reading, do you ever find yourself beginning a book and within a paragraph feeling that you have read the book before? I have a semi-edetic memory, so I generally remember books I have read recently word for word. It is good enough so that I can refer people to the answer to their question in a manual without consulting the manual. I used to get calls while sound asleep and be able to tell the caller to read, for example, page 56 on the left most column and then promptly resume sleeping. It is amusing the reputation you can build after a few calls like that. {*grin*}

In any case, I began reading the free Kindle download of Kim Harrison's Dead Witch Walking.  Within a paragraph I was sure I had read the book before. So I ventured out to my library - and while I had a number of Kim Harrison titles, none were Dead Witch Walking. So I read on, becoming even more certain I had read the book before. Maybe it was serialized? Maybe I read it on a website? I certainly didn't have this cover on the shelf:

It was driving me crazy to *know* that I had read the book before but was completely unable to figure out where. Since Kim Harrison is one of the authors I like, I was certain that if I had read the story in book form, it was in my library. So I pulled down the volumes of Harrison here and began going through them to see if perhaps I had the book under a different title. Sure enough, I opened This Witch For Hire and discovered it was a combined copy of Dead Witch Walking and The Good, the Bad, and the Undead. Mystery solved.

Since it had been more than 5 years since I last read the book, I decided to go ahead and re-read it. I greatly admire the way Harrison combines fairy tale and mythological arcana, witchery, and sarcasm to generate an enthralling read. Where else do you find a wise cracking, hen-pecked, male chauvinist pixie paired with a naive witch and an undead vampire in the grip of living ennui in a private detective business sharing a re-purposed church and cemetery together with werewolves and fairies?

I most admire Kim Harrison's writing for her handling of satire and sarcasm without going too far. I liken writing satire and sarcasm with running along the edge of a cliff - go a little too far and you are likely to suffer a devastating crash. When I write satire and sarcasm, I seem to be incapable of stopping before I dive off the cliff and crash. Ms. Harrison has the knack of teetering on the edge without falling. It makes reading her works a pleasurable yet toe curling experience. Is she going to go too far in *this* paragraph, how will she recover from this misstep? A bit like reading Terry Pratchett, only edgier.

What author(s) do you admire most for skills you cannot perfect?

P.S. Happy Birthday to the Son. Early this morning he will reach the ripe old age of 20. It sure doesn't seem that long ago that L and I were anxiously waiting for him to make his appearance. Happy Birthday Son!


  1. Happy Birthday to your son! I have a photographic memory too and can quote things that people really don't want to hear LOL This whole year has been weird weather to me. Hope you get back into the pretty stuff :)

    Oh, my fav author is Stephen King. I admire everything about the way he writes.

  2. First of all, I feel bad for you because of the snow but mostly I feel good that we don't have it anymore. I just read a friend's blog back at home in the states and it was 88 for Easter there. We won't see that here until never.

    Second, I just got introduced to Terry Pratchett by my fiance who loves the Discworld novels. I've only read three but I love how clever he is. I'm mostly a classics girl right now, but eventually I'll run out of those. Right??


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