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If you happen to spot this, you'll know there hasn't been much traffic here in awhile. Because of that, we've become a Facebook group. The name remains Web of Books. Join us there?

Several Short Reviews.

Finished books:

Some Girls – Jillian Lauren

The Geography of Bliss – Eric Weiner

Cleo – Helen Brown

It’s All About Him – Denise Jackson

Exploiting My Baby – Teresa Strasser

Cheap Cabernet – Cathie Beck

Strip City – Lily Burana


Currently reading: Hungry – Crystal Renn


Next on the list: Perfect (I’m too lazy to walk to my bookshelf and see who the author is)


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When we join Rennie Stride, ace rock reporter, at the start of "A Hard Slay's Night," she's in England for a holiday visit.

What Rennie's plans do include:
* Keeping friend Prax McKenna company while Prax and her band are recording;
* Attending a Christmas party at the country estate of friends Gray and Prue Sonnet;
* Attending the New Year's show presented by friends Dandiprat at the Royal Albert Hall;
* Trying to recover from her break-up with rock superstar Turk Wayland.

What Rennie's plans don't include:
* Murder, in most spectacular fashion, at the Royal Albert Hall;
* A plot which she slowly discovers is endangering several of her friends.

"A Hard Slay's Night" is the fourth book in Patricia Morrison's Rennie Stride series, set in the 1960s. Morrison knows both journalism and the '60s music scene -- her books are packed full of the details that leave a reader thinking "this is right ... this is the way it was." For example, as Rennie begins to track the murders in London, she discovers a story that no one has yet spotted -- her pleasure when that becomes front-page fodder will have the journalists in the audience smiling. (Side note for Bona journalism graduates: Morrison provides the full name of Rennie's mentor from j-school. Make sure you don't miss that detail.)

Another side note: You can start with any of the Rennie books; Morrison provides enough backstory that you can catch up easily. But here, I'd go back at least one book, since the story of Rennie's romance with Turk Wayland begins in "Love Him Madly." And by the time you read that book, I suspect you're going to want to go back to the beginning and meet Rennie as she starts her rock writing career. She's an interesting lady to know.

All four Rennie books are available from lulu.com. The first two are also available from Amazon.com.

'Just Kids:' Just an engaging memoir

Despite the headline, I almost didn't stick with Patti Smith's "Just Kids." Smith's memoir of her friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Her early pages, detailing her decision to live for art and move to New York, seemed to plod.

Then she actually did move, and the storyteller in her came alive. Then you start to see what New York City was like to a young woman newly arrived and not at all sure how she'll even provide a roof or some food. And then you, like Smith, meet Mapplethorpe, who becomes friend and lover and occasional muse and cheering section.

Smith's strong eye for detail makes her portrait come alive -- you see the city, the man and the people they met along the way. She illustrates the often-repeated writing maxim: Show, don't tell.

At book's end, Smith notes she had promised Mapplethorpe to write about their friendship, and thanks those who helped her keep that promise. I also thank them.

The brain was willing ...

... but in the end, I couldn't get engaged by "Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion." I really did want to like the biography, written by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel. I'm fascinated by the workings of the Supreme Court, and a number of decisions by Justice William Brennan come up regularly in media law.

But wanting to like the book doesn't always equal liking it. Stern and Wermiel have produced a well-researched but dry book. After plugging through for awhile and realizing I still couldn't find the Justice in there, I gave up (very much short of the end) and returned the book to the library.

Other reading awaits ...

Last Week.

Finished books:
Happens Every Day – Isabel Gillies
Dewey – Vicki Myron

 Currently reading: Some Girls – Jillian Lauren

 Next on the list: The Geography of Bliss – Eric Weiner 


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Last Week.

Finished books:

Notes from the Underwire – Quinn Cummings

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much – Allison Hoover Bartlett


Currently reading: Happens Every Day – Isabel Gillies


Next on the list: Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat who Touched the World – Vicki Myron



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  Finished books:

Committed – Elizabeth Gilbert

Stick figure – Lori Gottlieb


Currently reading: Notes From The Underwire – Quinn Cummings


Next on the list: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much – Allison Hoover Bartlett



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Second Week of January.

Finished books:

Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert


Currently reading: Committed – Elizabeth Gilbert


Next on the list: Stick Figure – Lori Gottlieb



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