BOOK & BLOG
October 8, 2006
Books of the Week: THE DOMINION & A DANGEROUS MAN by Charlie Huston; GRAYWALKER by Kat Richardson; MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING edited by Pat Elrod; GLASS HOUSES by Rachel Caine
What Ive been reading these past two weeks is strange mixture of hard-boiled, cozy, and supernatural, which is pretty much my norm. I was lucky enough to run into a bookstore owner, a friend of mine, in the airport on my way to Bouchercon, the world mystery convention. He just happened to have an ARC of Charlie Hustons THE DOMINION, Hustons forthcoming second novel about vampire Joe Pitt. And he just happened to be willing to give it to me. So I had a great time reading this book on my way to Madison, Wisconsin. To complete the pattern, on my way back I read A DANGEROUS MAN, Hustons third and last book about Henry Thompson, which had a huge impact on me; in fact, I started crying on the plane.
Packed in around these two impressive books (Hustons just a star) I re-read GRAYWALKER, Kat Richardsons debut paranormal about a private eye whos beaten badly and sustains fairly drastic head injuries; her life changes forever as a result. I blurbed this book, and to my second-hand pride, its gotten some very impressive reviews, so you dont have to rely on my word!
I also read MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING, the Pat Elrod anthology containing my short story Tacky. Tacky is set in my fictional city of Rhodes, and I really enjoyed writing it. The other stories are an amazing jumble of stories featuring the paranormal and weddings, including excellent entries by Jim Butcher, L.A. Banks, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Rachel Caine, Susan Krinard, Esther Friesner, Lori Handeland, and of course P.N. Elrod herself.
Rachel Caine has long been one of my favorite writers, and I just read GLASS HOUSES, the first of her young adult novels in the Morganville Vampires series. It was sweet, touching, scary, exciting, and just within my willing suspension of disbelief, the point where you have to agree to suspend your view of reality to go along with the writers vision and plot.
Ive definitely hit a good streak, and I hope it lasts. My TBR (to be read) pile is reaching the height of a decent mountain, and I just keep adding to the slopes.
Yesterday was my last fall Saturday devoted to Fall Ball. For those of you who dont have children, whose children are grown, or just not athletically inclined, Fall Ball is a relatively new tradition intended at least in part to keep young women conditioned to play softball in the spring. In the case of tournament ball, I suspect its designed to wring a few more dollars out of parents who are just begging for a weekend to do nothing, or to get some chores around the house accomplished.
My daughters school team (not officially her school team, because . . . well, it really is more or less her school team) drove for an hour in the dark to play the opening game, and for the first time, we needed jackets and blankets and hot chocolate. The full moon was up for most of our drive, and since Im me, I could imagine the Weres keeping pace with us just inside the tree line.
As the girls warmed up, they gradually shed layers of clothes until the dugout looked like a sporting goods store that had been robbed. The officials got there on time, and we began our days play. The morning gradually warmed up, and (such is the way of things) I ended up with a sunburned face. My daughter hit a home run, and all her teammates waited for her at home plate to pat her on the shoulder, hug her, wish her well.
It was impossible not to be proud of my daughter, her team, the other team, everyone who gave up their Saturday morning to come out in the chilly hours so these girls could play ball.
Unfortunately, it was also sad. Despite Title Nine, the girls softball field is on a bit of city owned land tucked behind the Farmers Market, convenient to nothing. The field itself is in bad repair. The stands are rickety. The high school shop class made the concession stand, which we got this past year; before that, we sold things out of ice chests, to raise money for the girls. The stand isnt wired for electricity. The only bathroom at the field is in a donated trailer that acts as the dressing room. The night lighting on the field is turned off. We held a benefit to buy a pitching machine so the girls could practice, and parents building the batting cages. Parents mow and maintain the field, and the parents and the girls paint the dugouts.
The school doesnt want to spend money on improvements on a field on land they dont own. I can understand that.
The boys are getting a $350,000 building adjacent to their field, which is also not at the school site, though the land is owned by the school. This building will house indoor practice facilities and coaches offices. In all fairness, the school superintendent will also have offices in the building, and local boosters and parents donated a lot for the boys field too; the expensive lighting, fences, and many other features.
Im struggling to be fair, here. I know girls softball is not as popular as baseball. I do think its possible thered be more people in the stands if (a) the field was anywhere close to the school and (b) there were any amenities at the field at all. I think more girls would try out for the team if the sport were more respected.
I almost struck these last few paragraphs, and I may yet. Im not a big boat-rocker. Theres always more to the story, and maybe Im not the best person to tell it. But it breaks my heart to see these girls trying so hard, when I see them getting so little respect.
® 2010 Charlaine Harris