Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Mentalist, anyone?

Is anyone watching the new mystery show The Mentalist? I watched the pilot online over the weekend, and I thought it had potential. The detective reminds me of Sherlock Holmes, which is always a good sign!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Link to Bones Recap: The Finger in the Nest

I haven't been happy with my Bones reviews, but I also haven't had the energy or wit lately to do the sort of recaps I've been wanting to do. I was browsing around Bones sites tonight and discovered that The Recapist does nice long recaps that are pretty awesome. So I'm going to link you to those for a while instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. Here's last week's episode, 4.04, "The Finger in the Nest."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Quick Review: Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris

Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris

First of all, let's get this out of the way: I am a Jane Austen fan. If you don't like Jane Austen, you probably won't like this book. That said, I am not a Jane Austen fanatic. I don't much mind when interpretations stray a bit from the canon. (I don't even mind Keira Knightley as Elizabeth.) If you are an Austen purist, you probably won't like this much either.

Now that we've established where I stand on such important issues, I can get to the point: Pride and Prescience is easily one of the best Austen pastiches I've read. The best thing was the characterization: it seemed to be spot on, especially that of Darcy. It provides a nice look at Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship in their first few weeks of marriage, but there's nothing graphic that throws the reader out of the Austenlike tone. (There is one point when Darcy asks Elizabeth to leave her hair unbound as she's getting ready for bed, and oh. My. Goodness. Be still, my heart.)

The mystery itself was decent. Not great, as "serious" mysteries go, but certainly not the worst I've read. The one slight problem I had with the book was the paranormal aspect. It was well done, but... I think it just surprised me. I kept thinking there was going to be some "explanation" of the paranormal events, but there wasn't. I mean, the mystery was solved, but there wasn't any "oh, it just seemed like magic because of such-and-such." So if you don't like paranormal mysteries (perhaps in the tradition of the Gothic novels Austen's characters read), you might not like this book. With that caveat, though, I'd definitely recommend it to Austen or Regency fans who like a good sense of humor and some playfulness of plot.

Grade: A-

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Autumn Reading

Today's question:

Autumn is starting (here in the US, anyway), and kids are heading back to school–does the changing season change your reading habits? Less time? More? Are you just in the mood for different kinds of books than you were over the summer?

I seem to have less reading time recently, but I'm not sure how much that has to do with autumn specifically and how much is just because of some new commitments. Autumn does make me in the mood for different kinds of books - I'm much less interested in contemporary fluffy stuff, and much more interested in classics and "serious" stuff. I think this has a lot to do with the "back to school" idea - even though I'm not in school, I feel like it's time to study!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TV: Bones 4.3: The Man in the Outhouse

(Note: I'll get the review out more quickly next week, I promise. I realize I'm right under the wire here as far as my self-imposed "post review before the next episode airs" rule goes.)

I liked this second episode of Bones Much more than I did the season premiere. Agree? Disagree? Comment below and weigh in!

Plot: A trucker uses an abandoned outhouse - and it explodes. (I forget why, exactly. That part wasn't very clear.) The trucker survives, but a body is found stuck in the outhouse and Booth and Brennan are called in. They eventually figure out that the dead man is the host of a TV show dedicated to busting cheating spouses. This, of course, opens up a whole new area of potential suspects: the busted spouses (mostly husbands). The usual suspects - family, friends, coworkers - are around, too. The case is fairly straightforward, with no suggestion of a relationship to ongoing plots, but it's an entertaining one-off.

Booth/Brennan: At the beginning of the episode, Booth realizes that Brennan is dating two men at the same time, and the fallout from this is hilarious. Brennan sees nothing wrong with, or even odd about, her situation, but Booth can't even comprehend acting as she does. His Catholic faith is really reflected in his view of relationships - it's nice to see that bit of verisimilitude. Their on-and-off conversation about the situation continues throughout the episode, and Booth uses the example of the cheating spouses in the case to extol the virtues of monogamy.

Perhaps inevitably, Booth and the two men all end up meeting, hilarity ensues, and Brennan ends up single by the end of the episode. This sets up one of the cutest ever of their often-cute episode-ending scenes, in which Booth tells Brennan that he knows the one right person for her is out there and she just has to be open to seeing it, and shippers everywhere squee. Then Booth offers to buy Brennan dinner, and tells Sweets not to come along because he wants it to be just the two of them. Awww.

The Squints: There was virtually nothing about the major Hodgins/Angela drama of last week, so that was annoying. The main squint subplot revolved around the grad student of the week, Daisy, and her attempts to make Brennan like her. The other squints are alternately amused and annoyed by these efforts, and Daisy ends up getting fired. The very last scene of the episode, though, involves a very cute interaction that suggests that we may see, or at least hear about, Daisy again.

Overall Grade: A

Wednesday: What's on your shelf? (9/17)

Yay, we've made it to the middle of another week! What are you currently reading or watching? Do you like it? Add your opinions below, and we can all get some new ideas and recommendations.

I'm currently reading Mew Is for Murder by Clea Simon, and next up in the review queue is Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber. I finished Foyle's War a few weeks ago and haven't really started watching a new series yet, but I've been watching the odd Miss Marple here and there. And, of course, I'm looking forward to Bones tonight!

How about you?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Agatha Christie tapes

The BBC had a story yesterday about thirteen hours of Agatha Christie audio tapes that were recently found. They seem to be notes to herself for her autobiography, and discuss aspects of both her life and her work in some detail. That link goes to the text news story, but from that page you can also listen to the radio story, which includes some clips of Christie's recordings. Her voice sounds exactly the way I'd imagined. Fun!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Classic Chandler Essay: The Simple Art of Murder

In 1944, Raymond Chandler wrote an essay about mystery fiction for the Atlantic. Thanks to that magazine's wonderful free online archive, we can read "The Simple Art of Murder" in its entirety.