Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing You All A Fun And Safe New Year's Eve, And A Prosperous New Year.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mailbox Monday for 12/31/12

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme created by Marcia at Mailbox Monday and is currently being hosted by Suko's Notebook.

I received an ARC of A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash for an upcoming TLC Book Tour.

For Christmas I got hardcovers of The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen and The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan.  I also got a trade paperback of Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie and a paperback of Changes by Mercedes Lackey.

Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge 2013

The wonderful Bev of My Reader's Block is hosting the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge once again, and for 2013 she has made some changes.  It's the sort of challenge I can't pass up, so I'll let Bev explain the details to you.

Once again it's time to start thinking about Reading Challenges for the new year.  And once again I will be sponsoring the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge.  This year I'm offering a bit of a smorgasbord with a theme of "Scattergories."  You will see listed below a set of Vintage Categories.  Your mission, should you wish to accept it, will be to fulfill at least 8 of the categories.  Feel free to get creative with the categories--if you can make a book fit the category and sell the fit in your review/comment, then it's in.  

General Rules: 

*All novels must have been originally written before 1960 and be from the mystery category (crime fiction, detective fiction, espionage, etc.).  Short story collections (whether published pre-1960 or not) are permissible provided all of the stories included in the collection were originally written pre-1960.  Please remember that some of our Vintage authors wrote well after 1959--so keep an eye on the original publish date

*Each book may count for only one category.

*I am open to additional category suggestions.  Please email me (phryne1969 AT gmail DOT com) with your suggestions.  Once I decide to add a category and it shows up on the list below, then it will be fair game for challenge completion.  Category suggestions will be considered through January 31

*You are welcome to count these books towards any other challenges as well. 

*Challenge runs from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013. Sign up any time between now and November 30, 2013.  Any books read from January 1 on may count regardless of your sign-up date.
 If you have a blog, please post about the challenge and your theme commitment. Then sign up via one of the linkys below. And please make the url link to your Challenge post and not your home page. (Links that do not follow this rule will be removed.)  Please use the appropriate linky for the mini-challenge.

*I would love to see reviews of your challenge books, but it is not necessary to participate. If you do not have a blog, post to the comments what your challenge commitment will be and then post again at the progress site (see below) when you have completed your challenge (include a list of books read).  If you don't review and you've gotten creative with the categories (i.e. it's not obvious how a certain book fits a category), then please give a brief explanation when you post your completion comment.

*Everyone who completes the 8 book minimum will be entered for a prize drawing at the end of the year. Anyone who completes 16 or more books will automatically receive their choice from a prize list. 

*Once you have met the 8 book minimum, you may repeat any category (except the last one) any number of times to reach the 16+ level. 

*On January 1st, I will post a site where you can link up your reviews/progress. 

Mini-Challenge Level--for those who would like to participate at a lower commitment. Choose any 4 categories for a commitment of 4 books. Challengers who complete this level will be eligible for a separate year-end prize drawing. 

Vintage Categories:

1. Colorful Crime: a book with a color or reference to color in the title
2. Murder by the Numbers: a book with a number, quantity in the title
3. Amateur Night: a book with a "detective" who is not a P.I.; Police Officer; Official Investigator (Nurse Keate, Father Brown, Miss Marple, etc.)
4. Leave It to the Professionals: a book featuring cops, private eyes, secret service, professional spies, etc.
5. Jolly Old England: one mystery set in Britain

6. Yankee Doodle Dandy: one mystery set in the United States
7. World Traveler: one mystery set in any country except the US or Britain
8. Dangerous Beasts: a book with an animal in the title (The Case of the Grinning GorillaThe Canary Murder Case; etc.)

9. A Calendar of Crime: a mystery with a date/holiday/year/month/etc. in the title (Hercule Poirot's ChristmasHoliday Homicide, etc.)
10. Wicked Women: a book with a woman in the title--either by name (Mrs. McGinty's Dead) or by reference (The Case of the Vagabound Virgin)
11. Malicious Men: a book with a man in the title--either by name (Maigret & the Yellow Dog) or by reference (The Case of the Haunted Husband)
12. Murderous Methods : a book with a means of death in the title (The Noose5 BulletsDeadly Nightshade, etc).

13. Staging the Crime: a mystery set in the entertainment world (the theater, musical event, a pageant, Hollywood, featuring a magician, etc)
14. Scene of the Crime: a book with the location of the crime in the title (The Body in the LibraryMurder at the Vicarage, etc.)
15. Cops & Robbers: a book that features a theft rather than murder 
16. Locked Rooms: a locked-room mystery
17. Country House Criminals: a standard (or not-so-standard) Golden Age country house murder
18. Murder on the High Seas: a mystery involving water 
19. Planes, Trains & Automobiles: a mystery that involves a mode of transportation in a vital way--explicitly in the title (Murder on the Orient Express) or by implication (Death in the AirDeath Under Sail) or perhaps the victim was shoved under a bus....
20. Murder Is Academic: a mystery involving a scholar, teacher, librarian, etc.  OR set at a school, university, library, etc.
21. Things That Go Bump in the Night: a mystery with something spooky, creepy, gothic in the title (The Skeleton in the ClockHaunted LadyThe Bat, etc.)
22. Repeat Offenders: a mystery featuring your favorite series detective or by your favorite author (the books/authors you'd read over and over again) OR reread an old favorite
23. The Butler Did It...Or Not: a mystery where the butler is the victim, the sleuth....(gasp) the criminal....or is just downright memorable for whatever reason. 
24. A Mystery By Any Other Name: any book that has been published under more than one title (Murder Is Easy--aka Easy to Kill [Christie]; Fog of Doubt--aka London Particular [Christianna Brand], etc.)
25. Dynamic Duos: a mystery featuring a detective team--Holmes & Watson, Pam & Jerry North, Wolfe & Goodwin, or....a little-known team that you introduce to us.
26. Size Matters: a book with a size or measurement in the title (Death Has a Small VoiceThe Big FourThe Weight of the Evidence, etc.)
27. Psychic Phenomena: a mystery featuring a seance, medium, hypnotism, or other psychic or "supernatural" characters/events
28. Book to Movie: one vintage mystery that has appeared on screen (feature film or TV movie).
29. The Old Bailey: a courtroom drama mystery (Perry Mason, anyone?Witness for the Prosecution...etc.) OR a mystery featuring a judge, lawyer, barrister, D.A., etc.
30. Get Out of Jail Free: This is a freebie category.  One per customer.  You tell me what special category the book fits ("It's got an awesome cover!"..."First book I grabbed off my shelf") and it counts.  Only thing I won't take is "It's a Vintage Mystery!"--that's a given. :-)

Friday, December 28, 2012

My 15 Favorite Reads of 2012

Another year of reading is over and it's time to some how narrow them all down to a Best of List.  It's always hard to narrow a list down in such a way that doesn't make me feel like I'm letting a book slip through the cracks, but keep the list from getting out of control.  I some how managed to get the list down to 15 this year, though there are another 10 or so that could have easily made the final cut.

This year, the list is a little more diverse and contains a lot more nonfiction than in the past.  As usual, these are all books that I read for the first time in 2012, so rereads didn't count.  The closest I got to breaking that rule was a collection of short stories, one of which I have read over and over again.  So with no further ado, I present my favorite books of 2012.

The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory

Gillespie and I by Jane Harris

The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

The American Bible by Stephen Prothero

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

The Absolutist by John Boyne

The Yellow Room by Mary Roberts Rinehart

On a Farther Shore by Rachel Carson

The Black Count by Tom Reiss

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Thursday, December 27, 2012

In Memoriam, 2012

I know this happens every year, but 2012 seems like a year in which we lost a lot people who have been part of our lives for year.  Whether they were actors, singers, writers, politicians, scientists or public servants, 2012 seems to be a year in which a lot of those who have entertained or shaped our lives in some way, passed on.  

Throughout the year I try to remember those who had the biggest impact on my life in separate posts, though I know I miss a lot of them.  So for this year, I would like to take the time and thank those whose memory should never be forgotten and to those who touched my life or those around me, even in the smallest way.

Now I know I'm not going to be able to mention everyone we lost over this last year, and if I leave out anyone whose loss you felt, I apologize.  Also because of space restraints, I won't give a full bio, but I will list the years in which they were born along with a few details about their careers.  If I did my own tribute to them when they passed away, their name will link back to that post.

January 2012

Fred Milano, 1939-2012.  American Doo-Wop singer, Dion & The Belmonts; "I Wonder Why".

Etta James, 1938-2012.  American R&B singer; "At Last".

Ian Abercrombie, 1934-2012.  British born, American TV actor; Seinfeld, etc.

Dimitra Arliss, 1932-21012.  American actress; Xanadu and The Sting.

Robert Hegyes, 1951-21012.  American TV actor; Welcome Back, Kotter.

February 2012

Don Cornelius, 1936-2012.  American TV producer & host; Soul Train.

Ben Gazzara, 1930-2012.  American actor; Anatomy of a Murder.

Mike deGruy, 1951-2012.  American documentary filmmaker; The Blue Planet.

Bill Hinzman, 1936-2012.  American actor; best know as the cemetery zombie in Night of the Living Dead.

Peter Breck, 1929-2012.  American actor; The Big Valley.

Laurie Main, 1922-2012.  Australian actor; best know in the US as the host of Disney's Welcome to Pooh Corner.

Whitney Houston, 1963-2012.  American R&B/Pop singer; "I'm Your Baby Tonight".

Elyse Knox, 1917-2012.  American actress; The Mummy's Tomb.

Anthony Shadid, 1968-2012.  American Pulitzer Prize winning journalist; The Washington Post.

Sullivan Walker, 1946-2012.  Trinidadian/American actor; The Cosby Show & Earth 2.

Marie Colvin, 1956-2012.  American journalist; The Sunday Times.

Davy Jones, 1945-2012.  British actor and recording artist with The Monkees; "I'm a Believer".

March 2012

Leonardo Cimino, 1917-2012.  American actor; Dune & The Monster Squad.

Jim Duffy, 1937-2012.  American animator; The Smurfs & Super Friends.

Warren Stevens, 1919-2012.  American actor; Forbidden Planet.

Gary Walberg, 1921-2012.  American actor; Quincy, M.E.

April 2012 

Thomas Kinkade, 1958-2012.  American artist.

Mike Wallace, 1918-2012.  American Journalist; 60 Minutes.

Jonathan Frid, 1924-2012.  Canadian actor; Dark Shadows.

Dick Clark, 1929-2012.  American disc jockey and TV host; American Bandstand.

Greg Ham, 1953-2012.  Australian musician, Men At Work; "Down Under".

George Murdock, 1930-2012.  American TV actor; Gunsmoke, etc. 

May 2012

Bob Stewart, 1920-2012.  American TV producer; The Price is Right & The $10,000 Pyramid.

Adam Yauch, 1964-2012.  American musician, The Beastie Boys; "Sabotage"

George Lindsey, 1928-2012.  American actor; The Andy Griffith Show.

Maurice Sendak, 1928-2012.  American author and illustrator; Where the Wild Things Are.

Vidal Sassoon, 1928-2012.  British hairstylist and business mogul.

Sam Porcello, 1935-2012.  American food scientist who invented the stuffing for the Oreo cookie.

Donna Summer, 1948-2012.  American singer; "Last Dance".

Robin Gibb, 1949-2012.  British singer, Bee Gees; "How Deep Is Your Love".

Eugene Polley, 1915-2012.  American engineer who invented the wireless remote control for TV.

Janet Carroll, 1940-2012.  American actress; Risky Business & Murphy Brown.

Lee Rich, 1918-2012.  American TV producer & Co founder of Lorimar Television; The Waltons & Dallas.

June 2012

Richard Dawson, 1932-2012.  British born American actor and game show host; Hogan's Heroes & The Family Feud.

Kathryn Jootsen, 1939-2012.  American actress; Desperate Housewives.

Herb Reed, 1928-2012.  American singer, The Platters; "The Great Pretender".

Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012.  American author; Fahrenheit 451 & Dandelion Wine

F. Herbert Bormann, 1922-2012.  American ecologist who helped discover the threat of Acid Rain.

Bob Welch, 1945-2012.  American musician with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist; "Sentimental Lady".

Frank Cady, 1915-2012.  American actor who played the same character on three TV shows;  Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, and The Beverly Hillbillies.

Judy Freudberg, 1949-2012.  American TV/movie writer; Sesame Street & The Land Before Time.

Richard Lynch, 1940-2012.  American actor; Battlestar Galactica.

Nora Ephron, 1941-2012.  American journalist/screenwriter/novelist/playwright; When Harry Met Sally.... & Sleepless in Seattle.

July 2012

Andy Griffith, 1926-2012.  American actor; The Andy Griffith Show & Matlock.

Ernest Borgnine, 1917-2012.  American actor; Ice Station Zebra, The Black Hole, The Poseidon Adventure & the TV show Airwolf.

Donald J. Sobol, 1924-2012.  American children's book author of the Encylopedia Brown series.

Celeste Holm, 1917-2012.  American actress; All About Eve & Gentleman's Agreement.

Antonin Holy, 1936-2012.  Czech scientist who pinoneered and developed antiretroviral drugs used in the treatment of Heptatis and HIV, including Vistide, Viread, Hepsera, and Truvada.

William Asher, 1921-2012.  American TV producer, director, and screenwriter; Our Miss Brooks & Bewitched.

Chad Everett, 1936-2012.  American actor; Medical Center.

Sherman Hemsley, 1938-2012.  American actor; The Jeffersons & Amen.

Larry Hoppen, 1951-2012.  American musicain, Orleans; "Still the One".

Robert Ledley, 1926-2012.  American scientist who invented the full body CT Scanner.

Sally Ride, 1951-2012.  American astronaut.

Lupe Ontiveros, 1942-2012.  American actress; Selena & Desperate Housewives.

R.G. Armstrong, 1917-2012.  American actor; Dick Tracy & Friday the 13th: The Series

Jonathan Hardy, 1940-2012.  New Zealand actor; Farscape.

August 2012

Jimmy Jones, 1937-2012.  American pop singer; "Handyman" & "Good Timin'".

Marvin Hamlisch, 1944-2012.  American composer; The Way We Were & A Chorus Line.

Ron Palillo, 1949-2012.  American actor; Welcome Back, Kotter.

Phyllis Thaxter, 1919-2012.  American actress; Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo & Superman.

William Windom, 1923-2012.  American actor; Murder, She Wrote.

Tony Scott, 1944-2012.  British director; The Hunger, Top Gun, & Crimson Tide.

Helen Gurley Brown, 1922-2012.  American author, publisher, and editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan.

Phyllis Diller, 1917-2012.  American comedian and actress; Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! & Mad Monster Party.

Jeffrey Stone, 1926-2012.  American novelist and actor, was the model for Prince Charming in Cinderella.

Jerry Nelson, 1934-2012.  American puppeteer; Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, & Fraggle Rock.

Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012.  American astronaut; first man to walk on the moon.

September 2012

Michael Clark Duncan, 1957-2010.  American actor; The Green Mile & The Finder.

Dorothy McGuire, 1928-2012.  American singer, The McGuire Sisters; "Sugartime"

Lance LeGault, 1935-2012.  American actor; A-Team.

John Ingle, 1928-2012.  American actor; General Hospital.

Andy Williams, 1927-2012.  American singer; "Moon River".

R.B. Greaves, 1943-2012.  American singer; "Take a Letter Maria".

Michael O'Hare, 1952-2012.  American actor; Babylon 5.

Tuhran Bey, 1922-2012.  Austrian-born American actor; Footsteps in the Dark.

October 2012

Gary Collins, 1938-2012.  American actor, talk show host, and host of the Miss America Pageant.

Arlen Specter, 1930-2012.  American politicain, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Alex Karras, 1935-2012.  American pro football player with the Detroit Lions and actor; Webster.

Sylvia Kristel, 1952-2012.  Dutch actress: Emmanuel.

George McGovern, 1922-2012.  American author, historian, and politician; U.S. Rep. and Sen. from South Dakota, Democratic nominee for President in 1972.

Peggy Ahren, 1917-2012.  American actress; eight Little Rascals movies.

Natina Reed, 1979-2012.  American actress and singer, Blaque; "808".

November 2012

Bonnie Lynn Fields, 1944-2012.  American actress and Mousketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club.

Mel Shaw, 1914-2012.  American design artist; Bambi & Fantasia.

Larry Hagman, 1931-2012.  American actor; I Dream of Jeannie & Dallas.

December 2012

Norman Joseph Woodland, 1921-2012.  American inventor; co-creator of the bar code.

Daniel Inouye, 1924-2012.  Medal of Honor recipient and American politician; U.S. Senator from Hawaii.

Jack Klugman, 1922-2012.  American actor; The Odd Couple, Quincy, M.E., & 12 Angry Men.

Charles Durning, 1923-2012.  American actor; The Sting & The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Fontella Bass, 1940-2012.  American Singer; "Rescue Me"

Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., 1934-2012.  American Army General.