Friday, 9 May 2014

Comox Valley Rotary Club May 2014 Book Sale - 1st Visit

The twice annual Rotary Club book sale started on the 7th of May and runs until tomorrow, 10 May. The cause is a good one, the money goes to various needy organisations in the local area. And personally, it's a great place to look for books and get a great deal on them. Small price to pay if it helps out somebody.

I made my first visit after work on the first day. The price was basically $5.00 for three books. You can't knock that. I had my Books to Read guide with me and for the first day just went through the alphabet looking to see what was available. They are laid out quite well, best selling authors are usually in a group by themselves, alphabetically and the rest are also organised alphabetically. Specialities; westerns, SciFi, cook books, gardening books, history are laid out by themselves. I was mostly interesting in fiction and mysteries this time so I went through those areas. Nicely, it wasn't all too busy for the time of day, so it wasn't very claustrophobic. It can get that way and I imagine when I go again on Saturday for a last sweep, there will be many more folks checking out the place.

Anyway, I had a nicely successful visit, spent $20.00 and got 12 books. These were my finds; mostly mysteries, but also a couple of classics and fantasy.

Fantasy/ Young Adult

1. Cornelia Funke - Inkspell - This is the second book in the Inkheart trilogy. I had read the first book earlier in the year and enjoyed very much; just as I had previously also enjoyed the movie based on the book. This second book continues the adventure of Meggie and her friends. "A year has passed, but not a day goes by without Meggie thinking of Inkheart, the book whose characters came to life. For the fire-eater, Dustfinger, the need to return to the tale has become desperate. When he finds a crooked storyteller to read him back, he abandons his apprentice Farid and plunges into the pages. Before long, Farid and Meggie are caught inside the book, too. But the story is much changed - and threatening to end tragically"

2. Alan Bradley - A Red Herring without Mustard -  Alan Bradley is a Canadian author who has set his Flavia de Luce mysteries in the English hamlet of Bishop's Lacey. I enjoyed the first book quite a bit, although it did take me a bit to get into the writing style and the characters. This is the third book in the series. The synopsis looks interesting; "In the hamlet of Bishop's Lacey, the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce had asked a Gypsy woman to tell her fortune - never expecting to later stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned almost to death in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer abducted a local child years ago? Certainly Flavia understands the bliss of settling scores; revenge is a delightful pastime when one has two odious older sisters. But how could this crime be connected to the missing baby? As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to expose dark deeds and dangerous secrets.


3. Daphne du Maurier - Rebecca - I've been slowly collecting other books by du Maurier after enjoying The House on the Strand so very much. A classic, this was also an excellent movie. "There are said to be three books that every woman reads: Jane Eyre, Gone with the Wind and Rebecca. And who can say how many men have read them all? Certainly no 'blurb' on the back of the book can do justice to Rebecca. There is a sort of witchcraft in the tale. Ancestral Manderley and all that happens there possess the reader's mind with a subjugating sense of mystery. Neither can one ever forget the romantic Max de Winter, the sinister Mrs. Danvers, the odious Favell or the nameless heroine fore ever at grips with the ghost of the beautiful Rebecca. In this book du Maurier achieved one of the few triumphant novels in the language."

4. E. M. Forster - The Longest Journey - "The novel, Forster's favourite amongst his novels, revolves around Rickie Elliot, a congenitally lame young man with a tragic past. Raised in a stifling English suburb, Rickie is sent to Cambridge to achieve greatness and there encounters the temptations of an 'impractical' life - one of philosophical questions, wild hopes, and imaginative flights. His marriage to the conventional and pragmatic Agnes Pembroke, whom he mistakenly believes is his great passion, and his subsequent move to Sawston to live and teach provide the background for this, the story of Rickie's true enlightenment."

5. A. A. Milne - Winnie the Pooh - I had this book, along with The House at Pooh Corner during my university years.. Yes, that's what I said, my university years.. ;). I gave them away at some point in the past ten years and kind of regretted doing so. When I saw this copy of the first book of Milne's Pooh stories, I had to pick it up. I will get the other someday. "A.A. Milne wrote these stories and poems for his son, Christopher Robin. When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six are collections of verse. Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner contain all the Pooh stories. Winnie the Pooh was a teddy bear given to Christopher Robin on his first birthday, and the other animals were also once nursery toys. Ernest Shepherd went to see them all before he drew his unforgettable pictures." Great stories!

Mysteries (The rest of my purchases are mysteries by some of my favourite authors, trying to flesh out various series I've enjoyed)

1. Karin Alvtegen - Shame - Karin Alvtegen is a very unique writer. Her mysteries delve into the minds and personalities of her characters. Each book stands on its own and I've enjoyed a few of her stories so far. Shame also sounded interesting. "At first sight, Maj-Britt is as different from Monika as possible. Monika is a successful physician who works long hours restoring others to health. Housebound, Maj-Britt spends her days tormenting the volunteers who care for her apartment and bring her groceries. The one thing these two women have in common is a fierce determination to be left alone. But then a letter arrives, bringing the past back to life. Unexpectedly forced into a confrontation, each woman will prove to be the catalyst for the other's salvation.. or destruction."

2. Sue Grafton - V is for Vengeance - The Kinsey Millhone alphabetical series is like comfort food, interesting stories that you can pick up when you want to cuddle up with a good mystery, but that you don't feel the pressure to read them all at once. In fact, it's better to make them last; there are only 26 letters in the alphabet. ;0) I've so far read up to Q is for Quarry and enjoyed everyone. So as you can see, I've got a few to read yet. Yay! In V, "Private detective Kinsey Millhone feels a bit out of place in Nordstrom's lingerie department, but she's entirely in her element when she puts a stop to a brazen shoplifting spree. For her trouble she nearly gets run over in the parking lot by one of the fleeing thieves - and later learns that the one who didn't get away has been found dead in an apparent suicide. But Audrey Vance's grieving fiancé suspects murder and hires Kinsey to investigate - in a case that will reveal a big story behind a small crime, and lead her into a web that connects a shadowy private banker, an angry trophy wife, a spoiled kid with a spiralling addiction and a brutal killer without a conscience.:

3. Mark Billingham - Scaredy Cat - Mark Billingham has created the DI Tom Thorne mysteries, gritty and interesting. I've read a couple so far and watched the TV mini-series based on the books, also gritty and excellent. Scaredy Cat was one of the books represented by the TV series. "It was a vicious, calculated murder. The killer selected his victim at Euston station, followed her home on the tube and strangled her to death in front of her child. At the same time, killed in the same way, a second body is discovered at the back of King's Cross station. It is a grisly coincidence that eerily echoes the murder of two other women, stabbed to death months before on the same day. It is DI Thorne who sees the link and comes to the horrifying conclusion. This is not a serial killer the police are up against. This is two of them. Finding the body used to be the worst part of the job. Not any more. Now each time a body is found, Thorne must live with the knowledge that somewhere out there is a second victim, waiting to be discovered."

4. Edmund Crispin - Frequent Hearses - Crispin writes the Gervase Fen mysteries, humorous, somewhat out there, but interesting. "For Oxford don, Gervase Fen, a stint as a story consultant to a film biography of Alexander Pope comes as a piquant change of pace, particularly when the production is disrupted by the suicide of a bit player - and someone has taken great pains to hide the victim's real identity. When a lecherous cameraman is poisoned before his very eyes, Fen finds himself 'consulting' on a far more familiar matter, 'murder'."

5. Alan Hunter - Gently Does It - I've read a couple of the Inspector George Gently mysteries, but this is the first and I'm glad I finally got a copy. "For most people, that would easily qualify for a holiday from hell. For George Gently, it is a case of business as usual. The Chief Inspector's quiet Easter break in Norchester is rudely interrupted when a local timber merchant is found dead. His son, with whom he had been seen arguing, immediately becomes prime suspect, although Gently is far from convinced of his guilt. Norchester City Police gratefully accept Gently's offer to help investigate the murder, but he soon clashes with Inspector Hansom, the officer in charge of the case. Hansom's idea of conclusive evidence appals Gently almost as much as Gently's thorough, detailed, methodical style of investigation exasperates Hansom, who considers the murder to be a straightforward affair."

6 and 7. Peter Robinson - A Dedicated Man and Past Reason Hated - Peter Robinson is a Canadian crime writer born in England. His DI Alan Banks mysteries are set in Yorkshire and have been made into a very popular TV series starring Stephen Tompkinson as DI Banks. The missus and I have watched them on Knowledge network and enjoyed very much. I've been collecting the series but have yet to crack open the books. They await my attention anxiously. A Dedicated Man is the second of the series and Past Reason Hated is the fifth. I'll let you know how I enjoy them once I get them started. Gallow's View will be my first read.

So there you go, my purchases from Wednesday. I'll let you know how my visit tomorrow goes. But now it's time to pack the puppies up in the car and go get the missus.

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