NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Indefinite Hiatus

After much thought, Books 'N Border Collies had decided to go on indefinite hiatus to pursue some personal goals. I have had a great time and will still be around reading and commenting on many of the great blogs out there but not doing much posting myself. I will leave the blog up, but I'm turning off the ability to post anonymously so I don't have to keep monitoring all the silly spam that shows up.

Now I'm going to go play in the snow with the boys! My, Skye, what big teeth you have! :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009


by Jonathan Kellerman

L.A. police lieutenant Milo Sturgis takes center stage in Evidence, the twenty-fourth in Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series, as he investigates a double murder at an abandoned construction site in a neighborhood of the uber-rich.

Milo is my favorite character in this series, and it was a wonderful surprise to have him in the leading role. Alex himself is more of a tag-along without much of a presence other than to tell the story. That is fine with me! As much as I love this series, Alex's personal life can sometimes get in the way of a good mystery. The reader doesn't get Milo's personal life instead, but just a straight-up murder mystery with some eco-terrorism for good measure.

I listened to the audiobook of Evidence and was thrilled to hear the voice of John Rubinstein. I believe he has narrated every Alex Delaware book I have listened to, and I have become so fond of his characterizations that his is the voice I hear in my head when I read a Delaware novel. I hope he continues recording the series for as long as Kellerman continues writing it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


by David Plouffe

"David Plouffe, campaign manager for Barack Obama's historic presidential bid, reveals the inside story behind President Obama's rise to political prominence." (From the CD container.)

If you're at all curious about what it's like to run a presidential campaign, The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory is your book. David Plouffe walks the reader through the entire campaign, from the uncertain beginnings through election night. You'll hear enormous amounts of detail on political polls, funding, Obama's team's unprecedented use of "new media" in organizing and informing his supporters, the primary battles with Hillary Clinton and the final showdown with John McCain. Plouffe's book shows the best and the worst of the election process and its players. I'm not a political animal, but I was completely absorbed in this book from beginning to end. It is a fascinating behind-the-curtain look at the 2008 election from the perspective of the winner.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


by Georgette Heyer

"Penelope Creed will do anything to avoid marrying her repulsive cousin. Dressed in boy's clothing, she's fleeing from London when she's discovered by Sir Richard Wyndham, himself on he verge of the most momentous decision of his life. When Sir Richard encounters the lovely fugitive, he knows he can't allow her to travel the countryside all alone, so he offers himself as her protector. As it happens, at that very moment Sir Richard could use an escape of his own." (From the back of the Sourcebooks edition.)

When a reader is looking for a bit of fun and romance, she could hardly go wrong choosing just about any Georgette Heyer regency romance. The Corinthian is light, adorable and a perfect book for when you want to smile from the first page to the last.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


by The Waiter, Steve Dublanica

"According to The Waiter, 80 percent of customers are nice people just looking for something to eat. The remaining 20 percent, however, are socially maladjusted psychopaths." (From the back cover of the Harper Perennial edition.)

Having spent plenty of my younger days as a server in different types of restaurants, I adored Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip--Confessions of a Cynical Waiter. Everyone who has worked or eaten in a restaurant will recognize stories from this book and not always in a good way. (I hope you don't recognize yourself among those customers who snap their fingers to get a server's attention!)

Accentuating both the bohemian exhilaration and painful craziness of life in the "front of the house", Waiter Rant is great fun to read and might teach some folks a little respect for those men and women who bring them their food on a packed Saturday night. If not, believe me, spitting in the food is only the beginning of the revenge tactics a server has in the arsenal. ;-)

Sunday, December 6, 2009


by Margaret Atwood

"As the story opens, Snowman is sleeping in a tree, wearing a dirty old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beautiful and beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. In a world in which science-based corporations have recently taken mankind on an uncontrolled genetic-engineering ride, he now searches for supplies in a wasteland. How did everything fall apart so quickly?" (From the CD container.)

Now that I have read both books I will say I preferred The Year of the Flood, but Oryx and Crake was still really good. My preference lies in that I enjoyed the wider variety of characters presented in The Year of the Flood, but Oryx and Crake filled in a lot of questions raised from reading Flood first. I wrote previously that one does not need to read the books in order and I still stand by that statement, but if you have the opportunity I would recommend beginning with Oryx and Crake.

These two and The Handmaid's Tale are the only books by Margaret Atwood I have read, but I am now more convinced than ever that I need to explore her work further. The Handmaid's Tale would make My Life's Top 10 Books if I were to write that list today, and Oryx and Flood have left me even more curious about her other books. One of the things I found so striking in her writing in these two was her ability to write such beautiful formal prose, then suddenly jar me with modern slang or odd futuristic terminology and make it work. I'm looking forward to exploring the rest of her bibliography. Any suggestions regarding where to go from here?

Thursday, December 3, 2009


by Anne Rice

"Haunted by his decision to become an assassin rather than a priest, contract killer Toby O'Dare prepares for another grisly mission. However, when an angel offers him the chance to redeem himself and save countless lives, O'Dare wholeheartedly accepts. Consequently, he is catapulted back to thirteenth century England, where a young Jewish girl has mysteriously disappeared and the town's Christians are accusing her parents of murder." (Based on the CD container summary.)

Anne Rice's vehicle has switched from vampires to angels in Angel Time: The Songs of the Seraphim, but the beautiful writing and explorations of spirituality are back. Yippee! Many would say they were never gone considering her previous two fiction books were about the life of Jesus, but they didn't feel like the same as the Anne Rice I had come to love. This book felt more like the original Vampire Chronicles -- dark and dream-like -- with more belief in the ability of humanity to reform its selfish ways.

I was concerned that Rice would be too preachy, using her new characters to push her recovered faith. There are those moments, but they are few and fleeting and served their purpose of causing this reader to reflect on her own thoughts about religion in general. Looking back, the Vampire Chronicles often did the same thing but with searching cynicism. Angel Time speaks with guided confidence. This is the first of a new series, and I'm greatly looking forward to its continuation.