There is a used bookstore in
Long Beach called Banana Books. The owner is
a nice guy who knows books (which helps when you’re in the business) and his
lovely partner makes these fantastic earrings… ooh! I have several pairs of
them, and I’ve given away others as gifts because they are SO BEAUTIFUL!
Gathered Fragments is her company and she is as much a treasure as her jewelry.
They also have two dogs, rescued pitbulls, who are lots of fun to visit. They also have seven cats (all ferals that have been fixed and are now well taken care of by the shop owners). I don’t get to visit with them as much as I used to, not just because I’m only at the beach twice a month, but because when I’m there, I’m usually at my own shop playing with hats.
But, Tam shooed me out the door on Saturday so I could go visit my friend. We like to visit over coffee (she’s also the barista) and talk about her new grandbaby, books, jewelry, and customers, both good and…um, interesting.
This last time, I found three books I simply had to take home: a Dana Stabenow mystery featuring Kate Shugak, another Kathy Reichs, and a collection of short stories by Shirley Jackson. I’m not so sure when I’ll be reading the one by Jackson, simply because The Haunting of Hill House will probably give me nightmares and now that I’m pretty much on my own, the last thing I need are a bunch of sleepless nights caused by a bad case of “what’s that noise?” I may save it for summer when I’m at the cabin with Tam.
I fell into the Kate Shugak series quite by accident when I downloaded the first one on to my e-reader. It was free. That was the only reason I got it. Really. I’m not ashamed, and I’m really glad I did it. It was wonderful. I love the characters of Kate and Mutt (her wolf-hybrid) and the ways of the people who live in
It isn’t just another mystery series, it also includes cultural insights and as
a former student of anthropology (I wanted to get my bachelor’s degree in the
field, but that’s another story for another blog post), I love books that give
me a peek into a world quite different from mine.
Of course, Kathy Reichs is awesome, for the most part. Once she got over her need to teach, her books became more character and plot centered, and less textbookish. Not that I’m against learning about forensic anthropology (um, wanted to study that kind of thing, just not quite to that extent), but it can make for a bogged down story. I do like the fact that she researches her topics, and I was REALLY pleased with her treatment of Paganism, specifically Wicca, in Cross Bones. She got it right! I’m always leery of books that feature Paganism because so often they toss everyone into the same bag and call it witchcraft.
Anyway, one of the genres I enjoy is Western, but I’m pretty picky. Zane Grey is a favorite, and I do enjoy the occasional Louis L’amour, but when I asked the store owner about westerns written by women, he said, “there aren’t that many, and the ones that are out there tend to be on the erotic side.”
I’m really not into that. Really.
So… I now have my theme for this year’s NaNoWriMo. I’m going to write a western. I’m not sure I can keep the dragons out of it, but I can try. J There will probably not be many cowboys coming to the rescue of the rancher’s daughter, but there will be horses, danger, and strong women taking care things, including themselves. My female characters rarely need some male coming to their aid, unless said male is just tall enough to reach the high shelf without a ladder. Because I hate ladders, and so do most of my characters.
I’m looking forward to it, but don’t worry, I’ll still be working on the next book in the Citadel Chronicles.