Showing posts from February, 2023

The Motion Picture Teller by Colin Cotterill: A review

  I greatly enjoyed Colin Cotterill's series which was set in Laos and featured Dr. Siri . Dr. Siri is a wonderful character and one can hope that we might see him again at some point. But in the meantime, Cotterill has written this book which is a standalone novel set in Bangkok. The book's main character is Supot, a postman with the Royal Thai Postal Service. His job is postman but his life is all about appreciation for classic movies. He and his best friend, Ali, who owns a video store, spend every possible moment of their lives watching those movies. They are obsessed with the old Western movies and their stars, especially the female stars. The two are completely dismissive of modern Thai cinema and spend plenty of their time denigrating it. But then something happens to radically change their views. A cassette with the title Bangkok 2010 is delivered to Ali's store. They have no idea where it came from or why it was sent to Ali, but after watching it, the two friends

Poetry Sunday: A March Glee by John Burroughs

February is quickly winding down; March is almost upon us. March - a month of transitions. Winter is nearly over. (In fact, here in Southeast Texas, it was hardly ever here.)  Things are getting greener and flower buds are forming. The daffodils are already in bloom.  And in the skies above, the birds are moving, winging for their summer homes. In a matter of weeks, they will have built their nests, laid their eggs, and a new generation will have been born. "Oh, spring is surely coming. Her couriers fill the air." A March Glee by John Burroughs I hear the wild geese honking From out the misty night,— A sound of moving armies On-sweeping in their might; The river ice is drifting Beneath their northward flight. I hear the bluebird plaintive From out the morning sky, Or see his wings a-twinkle That with the azure vie; No other bird more welcome, No more prophetic cry. I hear the sparrow's ditty Anear my study door; A simple song of gladness That winter days are o'er My h

This week in birds - #538

A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment :  "You lookin' at me?" These three Wild Turkeys seem very curious about what I'm doing with that camera! *~*~*~* Central Park Zoo officials have thrown in the towel. They've given up - at least for now - trying to recapture their escaped Eurasian Owl , Flaco.  *~*~*~* And back in D.C., the pair of Bald Eagles known as Mr. President and Lotus (for Lady of the United States) have moved into a new nest at the National Arboretum and Lotus has laid at least one egg. *~*~*~* In war-torn Ukraine, activists are putting their lives on the line to rescue animals that have been injured or displaced by the conflict. *~*~*~* An outbreak of the H5N1 virus has killed thousands of birds and over 700 sea lions in Peru's Natural Protected Areas. *~*~*~* A French-born conservationist living in the Brazilian Pantanal has dedicated his life to saving the giant armadillo from extinction . *~*~*~* Here are some of

Deja vu all over again

When you read constantly as I do, sometimes it is hard to keep track of everything that you've read. That was brought home to me this week. I picked up Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd to read. I've always enjoyed his Inspector Rutledge series and I settled down to read the sixteenth book in that series. After finishing, I went to Goodreads to record my latest read, but...oh, what's this? I had already read it!!? Indeed, nearly six years ago I had read it and recorded a review on Goodreads and on my blog. My only consolation is that at least my views on the book had not changed. I still enjoyed it. And here is my review from 2017. *~*~*~* Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd: A review June 29, 2017 I've been working my way through this historical mystery series for a few years now and the trip has mostly been enjoyable. But the previous book,  Proof of Guilt , which I read last summer, was a big disappointment to me and nearly put me off. I haven't felt the desire to get

Thank you, Mr. President.


Poetry Sunday: To Daffodils by Robert Herrick

When I think of spring, I imagine daffodils - hills painted gold by them as far as the eye can see. After all, daffodils are the quintessential spring flower and, as Robert Herrick wrote some four hundred years ago, they "haste away so soon." But while they last, they are glorious! Herrick goes further, however, to compare our lives to the lives of the daffodils. Like them, we, too, "have short time to stay." All the more reason to treasure every moment. To Daffodils by Robert Herrick Fair Daffodils, we weep to see You haste away so soon; As yet the early-rising sun Has not attain'd his noon. Stay, stay, Until the hasting day Has run But to the even-song; And, having pray'd together, we Will go with you along. We have short time to stay, as you, We have as short a spring; As quick a growth to meet decay, As you, or anything. We die As your hours do, and dry Away, Like to the summer's rain; Or as the pearls of morning's dew, Ne'er to be found agai

Exiles by Jane Harper: A review

  Exiles is an atmospheric mystery set in the wine country in the south of Australia. We find investigator Aaron Falk there as he attends the christening of the son of his friend, Greg Raco. Aaron has been asked to be his godfather, so he is there in a completely civilian and social capacity, not as a financial federal investigator. However, there is a mystery here to be investigated. A year previously, a young mother had gone missing from the area, leaving her baby in a stroller in the parking lot at the annual wine festival. She has not been seen since and the mystery of her disappearance still troubles the community. The mother had been married to Greg Raco's brother Charlie and voluntarily leaving her baby behind would have been completely anomalous behavior for her. The family asks their friend Aaron to look into the case further for them and try to find out what has happened to the missing mother. This is a complicated mystery with multiple layers and it develops slowly, flo

This week in birds - not

 "This week in birds" is taking a break this week to enjoy and participate in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count . It will return next week.

The Bangalore Detectives Club by Harini Nagendra

This is the first in a planned series of historical crime fiction books set in the 1920s in India. It is an India that is still under British rule, but protests against that rule are beginning to grow. This is very much the state of things during that period in the busy city of Bangalore in the state of Mysore.  We see it all through the eyes of Kaveri, a young bride who has recently moved to Bangalore to be with her husband who is a doctor there. He is Dr. Ramu Murthy and he works at the Bowring Hospital run by Dr. Charles Roberts. Kaveri is obsessed with mathematics and is apprehensive about how her interest will be perceived by her new husband, but fortunately, he is quite progressive and has an ego capable of withstanding his wife's other passions. Her mother-in-law is not nearly so progressive in her outlook and she demands that her daughter-in-law adhere to the strict societal expectations of women in that period, to forego education and center their lives around a man and th

Poetry Sunday: Waiting in the Wings by Emile Pinet

As winter begins to wind down, we can almost see spring on the horizon. It is just over there beyond our view; waiting in the wings.  Waiting in the Wings by Emile Pinet Sunlight weaves in between twigs of skeletal trees. And a web of shadows dances with each feisty breeze. A silver sky shimmers like cheap carnival glass. And yet, this fickle sun’s too weak for blades of grass. Snow accumulates on branches that almost break. And bow low to the ground with the weight of each flake. Sugar maple sap waits, not even one sweet drip. And snowmen aren’t melting, frozen in Winter's grip. Spring's not on stage, quite yet, She's waiting in the wings. But I can almost smell the flowers that She brings.

This week in birds - #537

  A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment : A pair of Whooping Cranes search for a meal in shallow waters at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. *~*~*~* It's that time of year again! Time for the Great Backyard Bird Count , my favorite citizen science project and one in which we all can participate. *~*~*~* This is Flaco, a Eurasian Eagle-owl . He escaped from the Central Park Zoo a few days ago after someone vandalized the enclosure where he lived. As of today, he is still on the loose. *~*~*~* The Colorado River is drying up. Is it even possible at this point to avert this disaster ? *~*~*~*             P-22 at home on his range. Los Angelenos, and many of the rest of us, this week mourned the death and celebrated the life of one of the city's most famous inhabitants, the mountain lion known as P-22 who was euthanized after being hit by a car.  *~*~*~* Near Los Angeles, the poppies that cover its hillsides will soon be in bloom and that creates problems f

Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves: A review

Well, that's a bummer. Ann Cleeves says this will be the last book in the Shetland series. And just when it seemed that DI Jimmy Perez's life might finally be beginning to be sorted out. Ah, well, I guess that just means we get to write our own continuation in our imaginations. This is the eighth book in the series and, as always, one of the strongest points in the narrative is Shetland itself. As Cleeves describes it, it is such a wild and beautiful place. The landscape itself is like a major character in the story. And as for those human characters, no one describes them better than Cleeves. They always seem real and relatable, like anyone that you might meet in your daily activities.  In this case, the main characters are newcomers to the island, Helen a knitwear designer, and her architect husband Daniel, and their two children, Christopher who is autistic and daughter Ellie. They have moved from London and are looking for a fresh start. They are off to a bumpy beginning, h

The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz: A review

The latecomer in this family saga is Phoebe. She is the younger sister of triplets in the Salo and Johanna Oppenheimer family of New York. When the triplets are ready for college, their mother is feeling alone and she makes the decision to have their embryo sibling implanted in a surrogate and that is how "the latecomer" comes to be in the world. The triplets are Harrison, Sally, and Lewyn, and they came about because Johanna was concerned that she had not become pregnant after three years of marriage and she consulted a fertility doctor. The treatment exceeded her expectations with the result that she ended up with not one but three babies. The three had little in common beyond the fact that they had once shared a womb. In fact, they thoroughly disliked each other and would not even acknowledge their relationship to those who did not know about it. As soon as they are able to leave home, each goes his/her own way. Johanna has hopes that having a new baby will somehow help to

Poetry Sunday: Retread

Here's a retread for this Poetry Sunday. I was searching for a poem to represent this time of year and this one was the first that came up. It sounded very familiar, so I asked Blogger, and sure enough, I had featured it just about a year ago. In the belief that there is no such thing as too much of a good thing, here it is again. *~*~*~* Poetry Sunday: February by Margaret Atwood February 12, 2022 Poetry may not be what Margaret Atwood is most famous for, but she has in fact published eighteen books of poetry. And, judging by this example, she is quite an accomplished poet. This one made me smile in recognition at her description of the interaction with the cat. Also, her description of our increased appetite in winter seems, unfortunately, spot on. It's not an easy time for those of us who have to watch what we eat. We can only hope that spring will arrive in time to save us. February by Margaret Atwood Winter. Time to eat fat and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat

This week in birds - #536

A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment :  Pine Siskins are among my favorite winter visitors.  *~*~*~* Coal is economically outmatched by renewable sources of energy. It is more expensive to keep coal-fired power plants running than it is to build new wind or solar plants. *~*~*~* Six western states that rely on water from the Colorado River have agreed on a model to cut their use of water in the basin, but so far California is the one hold-out state that has not agreed. *~*~*~* It's a unique partnership: Bottlenose dolphins help Brazilian fishermen pull their catch in. *~*~*~* Why do bears rub against trees ? It seems that there may be more to it than simply scratching an itch. *~*~*~* The EPA has blocked the Pebble mine project in Alaska , a move that will protect a valuable salmon fishery. *~*~*~* A black bear was apparently fascinated by a wildlife motion-activated camera near Boulder, Colorado, and ended up taking hundreds of "selfies."