Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Man In Uniform

Good Morning Flower!

It was a dark and stormy night, seriously. It followed what had been an already stormy day. We had a blizzard. In twenty hours we got sixteen inches of snow. Lovely to look except up close when shoveling it, but I get ahead of myself. When the clean up seems incalculable hours away having snow whipping by your window as you sit wrapped up in cuddly warmth reading is atmospheice not backbreaking work.

Lucky me, I had a book I had been looking forward to for my blizzard reading: A Man In Uniform by Kate Taylor. I read her first novel, Madame Proust's Kosher Kitchen and absolutely loved it. This new novel is based on The Dreyfus Affair. In 1894 a French court found Captain Alfred Dreyfus guilty of treason and he was sent to Devil's Island. The arrest and trial were widely criticized and became the most publicized civil rights outrage of it's day. It took about ten years for Dreyfus to be exonerated. This scandal was as much about the workings of the military in France, anti-semitism and the power of the press as it was about selling military secrets. Sounds like the bones of a terrific novel, right?

Taylor's book begins after Dreyfus is sentenced. A comfortably bored Paris lawyer, François Dubon is approached by a mysterious woman who is convinced of Dreyfus' innocence and is willing to pay Dubon to try to get an appeal for Dreyfus. Dubon is intrigued by the woman and thoughts of recapturing the excitement of his radical youth and takes the case. This begins the attorney's double life. His marriage and family, mistress, prosperous practice and social standing could all disappear when what began as a lark (with a little seduction thrown in) becomes a mission.

Sad to say but A Man In Uniform is mediocre at best. The characters are two dimensional and the connect the dots plot is as surprising and suspenseful as a Tic Tac Toe match. There is good writing in the scene setting and period details but Taylor does not capture the built in drama of the events or create her own drama. Madame Proust's Kosher Kitchen really is one of my favorite books so I was anticipating adoring A Man In Uniform as well. Oh well. On the plus side Kate Taylor is talented and will write other novels that I will want to read.


Monday, December 27, 2010

The Weird Sisters

Happy After Christmas Flower!

Is it a good idea to read a novel about three sisters with issues right before you are going to be spending the holidays with your own sisters with issues? The novel is The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. I have five weird sisters myself so this seems like a perfect match. In the book the sisters are grown women trying to outrun themselves and the usual family baggage we all have. Well maybe not quite so usual. I'm going to go out on a limb here by saying that very few of us were raised by a Shakespearean scholar so maybe our baggage is as big but a little less erudite.

Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia are soon to be all at home together for the first time in years. To say that the three of them have never been close is an understatement. In truth they have been at odds with one another their whole lives. The only thing they seem to have in common is their deep love for their parents. Rosalind is the daughter who has stayed local. She wears many hats: career girl, caretaker to her parents and adoring fiancee but all those hats disguise her own fear of leaving the safety of her parents. Bianca has been in the Big City living up to Cosmo's expectations and Cordelia has been primarily out of touch and indulging in finding herself. All three of the sisters is at a crossroads in her life and has come home to nurse bad decisions as much as to help their Mother. Dealing with their Mother's illness and Cordelia's unexpected pregnancy will physically unite them. Whether or not they will overcome their animosity and become real sisters....well, you'll read it and see.

The Bard manifests himself everywhere in this novel: the title (the witches in Macbeth), the daughters names (think As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew and King Lear), the plot and there are quotes from the plays all over the place. Every family has their own language. The jokes that only they get, the shorthand concocted by childish mispronunciations, misconceptions and lore in the Andreas family the native tongue is Shakespearean. I came to The Weird Sisters with only the most cursory High School knowledge of Shakespeare and I was able to get it all and enjoy it all.

Is The Weird Sisters chicklit? Sure. So are books by Anita Shreve and Allegra Goodman. It's a novel that women are going to be drawn to, not men. Is it wonderful? Yes it is. This is author Eleanor Brown's first novel and she does a terrific job. She alternates the novel's action by giving each sister her own point of view in alternating chapters without using first person---YEA! Not every second of The Weird Sisters is new and different but Brown has added plenty of her own surprises to this sisterhood novel. The writing is assured, the storyline is compelling, the relationship between the sisters is believable, there is a lot of humor and the Shakespeare theme is fun. It unifies the novel in a different way while it stretches your brain a bit without beating you over the head.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Wizard and the Crow

Flower, hi.

The book The Wizard of the Crow by novelist and playwright Ngugi wa Thiong'o, is a kind of modern day Frank Capra film set in the imaginary African country of Aburiria. There is a delusional, hubristic ruler with a Yertle The Turtle complex, schemers with all kinds of official titles, a group of rebels plotting an overthrow, yes men devoted to their rulers glory, an greedy Global Bank, men who have plastic surgery to keep their ruler's enemies under surveillance, corruption, poverty and a reluctant everyman hero who happens to be an unemployed wizard that found his powers in a trash heap.

This fanciful, satirical novel is a heavily populated adventure through politics. The Ruler (we never learn his name) longs for the good old days of the Cold War when he could pit superpowers against one another to increase his personal coffers. Now no one seems to need him and a mysterious illness is making fatter and fatter. The novel gets started when the Ruler decides that what needs to happen to maintain his status and respect is to build the tallest building in Africa. Opportunists and government ministers fall out of the woodwork to make this happen. At the same time a young job seeker named Kamiti accidental joins a demonstration against the Global Bank's financing of the skyscraper by the rebels of The Movement of the People and ends up in hiding. In an attempt to confound and frighten the police Kamiti places a sign in front of his hideout proclaiming that a wizard lives inside. Little does he know how this new title will change his life.

Thiong'o has written an entertaining and worthwhile novel where the self interest of those in charge are pitted against the misery they create. The plot continually swings from absurd to biting then on over to ridiculous but it also hits on all the evils of any society not just those in the third world. There is a very let-me-tell-you-a-story feel to this book. That might come from the authors background as a playwright or the oral storytelling traditions of Kenya. The Wizard of the Crow could have used a little editing, but that said the story was never tedious. It had it's predictable moments but it had plenty of surprises as well.

P.S. I think this cover is great.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Hello My Friend.

I don't remember when my Read It Or Remove It policy started. Was it this year? Last year? Who can say. I can tell you that I have had some excellent luck with this program. Recently there has been
 A Very Long Engagement and The Observations, both terrific--and that trend continues!

The latest title in R.I.O.R.I. is sadly out of print but happily fantastic. It's Kalimantaan by C.S. Godshalk. As usual I do remember buying this novel and I remember being eager to read it. Alas...I have no memory of what took it's place in the reading queue. Whatever it was I hope it was worth it because as I've said Kalimantaan really is exceptional.

Kalimantaan is based on the true story of Sir James Brooke. Brooke was an adventurer who two hundred years ago acquired/seized a kingdom, Sarawak, roughly the size of England on the northern coast of Borneo. Borneo is an island in the Pacific that is part of the Malay Archipelago. Brooke and his followers ruled Sarawak for approximately one hundred years. Brooke's exploits have already been fictionalized at least once before that I am aware of in Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim.

In Kalimantaan, Brooke is Gideon Barr. As the self-styled "Raj of Sarawak", Barr imposes his brand of civilization on the natives whose land he's stolen and any immigrants, missionaries or businessmen who have found their way to his world. His wife, Amelia, views the colonial life and it's contradictions quite differently than her British East India Company admiring husband. In Barr's private country Victorian civilities, self-importance and hypocrisy cover all manner of savagery by the whites and the love of tradition and celebration hide native barbarism. This is an environment that breeds cholera, smallpox and infection as easily as it does tyrants, madness and doom. Godshalk has inhabited Sarawak with varied and fascinating characters. There are not any levels of this society that are not examined and made important to the story.

This is not a novel about pioneers trying to conquer a hostile environment through hard work and sacrifice. Kalimantaan is about colonialism and empire building on a grandiose scale. Damn the locals and full speed ahead. The rewards are great and little is allowed to get in the way of those prizes. Godshalk has triumphed in this magnificent undertaking. There is plot and color to spare. She has woven her many characters complex stories and motives through a long gone world all the while dissecting it's mysteries and cruelties and celebrating it's beauty and culture.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Novel Something


Are you familiar with the book A Novel Bookstore? The premise is that the bookstore of the title only stocks the best books. Umm...right.

Let me tell you that store would not be stocking this book.

That's all.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Three Bags Full


The world of detective fiction is a mental health half way house waiting to happen. It is a hotbed of psychological scars, neurosis, personality disorders, paranoia, grief, anger and all manner of antisocial behavior. Well the troubled gumshoes can all step aside. They need to make room for a new breed. A precinct made up of wool making, grass chewing, formerly lamb chop filled investigators created by Leonie Swann in Three Bags Full.

 Led by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in the world, the flock of the late George Glenn are on the case. George, their beloved shepherd has been murdered. A shovel through his shoulder and a suspicious hoof print on his chest. George had taken very good care of them and they will not allow his murder to go unpunished.

However there are a few disadvantages to be a sheep/sleuth. The biggest of which is the language barrier. Luckily for us the sheep were able to learn English because George had sung and read aloud to them. George liked romantic fiction that always seemed to be about red-heads named Pamela but his limited tastes were enough for the sheep to get an understanding of English (Alas they can't speak the language) and human nature. Being bilingual and determined the flock turn their attention to solving George's murder.

How did  Leonie Swann come up with this wonderfully inventive book? I would never have in a million years thought that I who have zero interest in anything to do with animals (Yup. Puppies? I am untouched by the alleged cuteness.) would adore a squad of crime solving sheep. Other than the whole Sherlock sheep thing happening, Swann makes the whole affair realistic. There is an actual mystery, viable suspects and the crime is solved by solid police work, so to speak, but how to tell the humans who done it? The answer comes in a talent contest and amateur dramatics.

Swann packs Three Bags Full with clever literary illusions, dark humor and terrific characterizations--if that's the right word to describe a cast of sheep. You may not be aware of it but the word delightful was invented to describe this mystery novel. True. I have the lab work to prove it.


P.S. That cover? Perfection!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Northern Clemency

Hi Flower.

I have to warn you I'm going to need some extra adjectives here. I might be saying brilliant, wonderful, impressive and glorious so often that I have to resort to using multi-layered as well. Let me apologize in advance for that. I've read The Northern Clemency (picked up solely because it is so very extra chubby) by Philip Hensher and it is fantastic. You can stop reading my puny writing now and go get a copy of it if you want. I won't be insulted.

Clemency starts out in 1970's Sheffield and follows two families:the Glovers and the Sellers. Malcolm and Katherine Glover have three children and have been Sheffield staples forever. Bernie and Alice Sellers, parents of two, are recent arrivals having moved to Sheffield from London for Bernie's new job. The day the Sellers move in Malcolm accuses his wife of having an affair and disappears. The next twenty years bring other catastrophes and passing cruelties both personal and nation wide that have lasting effects on both families.

This a War and Peace type of novel only without all the war part. Clemency is not only concerned with the events of its characters lives but it also details the physical, social, economic and political world they inhabit. Nothing happens in a vacuum in The Northern Clemency. It's a big novel that charts the internal and external world of two generations in one community. A cross section. This is the book for someone who wants to be entertained and at the same time come away with a complete portrait of the times.

Hensher has a firm grip on this tremendous slice of life novel and yet he makes it all feel very organic and realistic. It's as if the neighborhood gossip were giving you the straight skinny over a drink while you perused the March 1973 edition of Ladies Home Journal (Speaking of which a little Can This Marriage Be Saved would not have gone amiss here.) rather than an extremely talented writing is behind it all plotting away, pulling strings and researching every visual element of 70's and 80's decor and food. Nothing occurs in The Northern Clemency that doesn't have repercussions. From the minutiae of day to day domestic life to the events of the time that were felt across the country everything is put into his microscope, inspected and then brought to our attention with magnificent writing.

I was totally impressed and after one quick phone call my local independent bookstore has ordered me an earlier novel written by Philip Hensher, The Mulberry Empire. Yippee!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another Thing I Want

Good Morning Flower.

It's the time of year when visions of top ten book lists dance in you head. I love those lists. I'm fascinated by how similar they can all be except for the one odd ball. The one title that separates the New York Times list from the L.A. Times list. Within the usual suspects: Freedom, Room, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks you can find a title that you were unaware of which is nice or a title you thought was crap which is fun. It also amuses me that nowhere in conjunction with these lists can you see a list of all that the list makers read. These are your top ten but compared to what? You didn't read everything published, who could? Maybe I would like a base line. A this-is-what-I-thought-was-excellent-out-of-what-I-read-this-year list.

I have never tried to do a top ten list myself. There are two reasons for that. First I don't keep a list of all the books I have read in a calendar year. Second I feel cowed by not reading enough new releases. I feel like if I make a top ten list it has to be culled from any books I read that were published in this calendar year. Looking back just at the blog that is only 40 titles. There were probably more that I read and didn't write about but even if that brought the title up to 100 (and I don't think it's anywhere near that high) it doesn't seem enough to base a top ten list on, does it?

What I would really, really like to see are lists of titles that you and critics wanted to read this year but for whatever reason didn't get to. What peaked your interest but not your time making capabilities? Lists like that would be different, interesting and potential shopping lists.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why She Married Him


The title Why She Married Him immediately conjures up memories of books that address you as 'Dear Reader' and involve the long hidden secret of the Duke's real heir. Things that are right up my alley. While those specific elements are not present in this novel by Myriam Chapman there are many of the other conventions of Victorian novels and contemporary historical fiction: immigration, lost wealth, struggles with poverty, racism and the struggle for intellectual and emotional freedom. Unfortunately there is little else.

Why She Married Him is the story of Nina Schavranski. Nina is a Russian Jewish immigrant in Belle Epoch Paris. She and her family had to leave their comfortable life in the Ukraine because of the pogroms. Their comfort and community were replaced by poverty and ghettos. When the novel opens it is 1912 and Nina has just married a man she doesn't love. Unhappiness and strife ensue.

Chapman does a magnificent job in recreating the place and time of Nina's life. You can feel the fabrics, taste the food, see your way around this world. What you don't find in this novel is any interior life in the characters. Their lives are the events on the page and no more. That's disappointing but what is good about this book has me intrigued enough that I will look for Chapman's next novel.


Monday, December 6, 2010

4 Reasons To Be excited About 2011

Hello Flower!

Yeah. I need more books to read, right? Obviously I do because I am sooooooooooooooooo looking forward to these four novels. Will I be anxiously awaiting other novels? Sure I just haven't heard about them yet!

1. Doc by Mary Doria Russell on sale May 2011

Two of Russell's novels The Sparrow and Thread of Grace are among the titles that I gift to people on a regular basis. If you have never read I heartily recommend them. I've yet to talk to anyone who has ever read them that did not think they were wonderful.

The Publisher Says...
Nothing yet. Oh well. You can visit Russell's website and read and excerpt from this novel about Doc Holliday.

2. Elizabeth I By Margaret George on sale April 2011

I know. Isn't the world tired of Tudors yet? Not if it's coming from Margaret George! I am going to re-read her two earlier Tudor novels, The Autobiography of Henry the VIII and Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles in preparation of loving Elizabeth I

The Publisher Says...
One of today's premier historical novelists, Margaret George dazzles here as she tackles her most difficult subject yet: the legendary Elizabeth Tudor, queen of enigma-the Virgin Queen who had many suitors, the victor of the Armada who hated war; the gorgeously attired, jewel- bedecked woman who pinched pennies. England's greatest monarch has baffled and intrigued the world for centuries. But what was she really like?
In this novel, her flame-haired, lookalike cousin, Lettice Knollys, thinks she knows all too well. Elizabeth's rival for the love of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and mother to the Earl of Essex, the mercurial nobleman who challenged Elizabeth's throne, Lettice had been intertwined with Elizabeth since childhood. This is a story of two women of fierce intellect and desire, one trying to protect her country, and throne, the other trying to regain power and position for her family and each vying to convince the reader of her own private vision of the truth about Elizabeth's character. Their gripping drama is acted out at the height of the flowering of the Elizabethan age. Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dudley, Raleigh, Drake-all of them swirl through these pages as they swirled through the court and on the high seas.
This is a magnificent, stay-up-all-night page-turner that is George's finest and most compelling novel and one that is sure to please readers of Alison Weir, Philippa Gregory, and Hilary Mantel.

3. Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks on sale May 2011

One of my successful handsells ever is Brooks novel A Year of Wonders and People of the Book isn't far behind. Her historical fiction is more introspective than most and doesn't rely on well known historical figures to capture your attention.

The Publisher Says...
Nothing at this point. The title is listed on their website but no other information yet. ~~sigh~~not even a cover. But not to worry the U.K. publisher has this to say...
Caleb Cheeshateaumauk was the first native American to graduate from Harvard College back in 1665. ‘Caleb’s Crossing’ gives voice to his little known story. Caleb, a Wampanoag from the island of Martha's Vineyard, seven miles off the coast of Massachusetts, comes of age just as the first generation of Indians come into contact with English settlers, who have fled there, desperate to escape the brutal and doctrinaire Puritanism of the Massachusetts Bay colony. The story is told through the eyes of Bethia, daughter of the English minister who educates Caleb in the Latin and Greek he needs in order to enter the college. As Caleb makes the crossing into white culture, Bethia, 14 years old at the novel's opening, finds herself pulled in the opposite direction. Trapped by the narrow strictures of her faith and her gender, she seeks connections with Caleb's world that will challenge her beliefs and set her at odds with her community

4. Winter Ghosts By Kate Mosse on sale February 2011

The novels of Mosse are big, engulfing mystery romances. Very satisfying. Once you start them they do not leave your sight until you sadly turn to that last page.

The Publisher Says...
In the winter of 1928, still seeking some kind of resolution to the horrors of World War I, Freddie is traveling through the beautiful but forbidding French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Dazed, he stumbles through the woods, emerging in a tiny village, where he finds an inn to wait out the blizzard. There he meets Fabrissa, a lovely young woman also mourning a lost generation.
Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories. By the time dawn breaks, Freddie will have unearthed a tragic, centuries-old mystery, and discovered his own role in the life of this remote town.

Can't Wait!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Partisan's Daughter

Flower, my friend.

My very pleasant experiences with novelist Louis de Bernières' books have led me to expect engaging, well upholstered stories with unforgettable characters. Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Birds Without Wings, etc. are all novels that dissect a community's history using romance, comedy, tragedy, war and global politics. In A Partisan's Daughter his cast is much smaller, tiny even, but he uses the same emotional touchstones.

Roza is a wily twenty something Yugoslavian refugee living in London in the 1970's. Her life so far has been an almost entirely joyless struggle to survive both in her homeland and in an unwelcoming London. Chris is in his forties. He is bored with himself, his work and is mourning his years spent in a loveless marriage. After a meeting based on misconceptions and self-delusion, Roza becomes his Scheherazade. What truths there may or not be in her tales do not matter. To Chris she is Life. He devours her seemingly biographical stories. The veracity of both is suspect. As Chris becomes more enslaved he thinks Roza will be his great romance and that will save him. What Roza feels and wants, like her past, is more of a mystery.

It's an odd courtship that slowly simmers through A Partisan's Daughter. Neither Chris nor Roza is seemingly capable of being honest with themselves or each other. de Bernières uses this and the shifts in the narrative from Chris to Roza and back again to keep your loyalties in flux. It also makes it harder to pin down the characters expectations.

While I did miss the large populations and humor of de Bernières other novels I did like A Partisan's Daughter quite a bit. Roza's efforts to change life with her stories says a lot I think regarding what this novel is about. As with every storyteller within the life of each tale she tells there is an opportunity for a different path to be chosen and maybe for happiness, not so for the teller.


P.S. The U.S. Cover? I liked ok, but I like the U.K. edition much better

Friday, December 3, 2010

Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End

Hello Flower.

Before I read Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End I had been thinking of it as a book version of a Law and Order episode. It's the first of a planned trilogy of novels based on a true, unsolved crime, the 1986 assassination of Swedish prime minister Olaf Palme. The author, Leif GW Persson has been an adviser to the Swedish Ministry of Justice, is Sweden’s most renowned psychological profiler and is considered Sweden's foremost expert on crime. So maybe this was going to be the behind the headlines, what they know but can't tell kind of thing and after reading it I would know the real story.

Between starts out with the suicide of an American journalist in 1970's Stockholm. Apparent suicide because Good Cop Lars Johansson doesn't buy it. From this possible murder to the assassination takes more than just years. It takes a village: CIA operatives, code names, high ranking government officials, secret police, incompetent bureaucrats, the Cold War, bungling and the ever popular crime novel crew of social misfits. There is a lot going on in Between and there should be. Remember this is book one of three.

Is this a case of throw the spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks? Could be. The incredibly dense start and stop plot filled with complex back stories could all come together triumphantly in book two but what would keep you interested enough to find out? There is a great deal of amusing dark humor in Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End but the lack of any memorable characters among the thousands the authors offers up is the novels' downfall.

I had a lot of expectations for this novel. I loved the cover--it might be my favorite of 2010--and Persson won the 2010 prize for Best Swedish Crime Fiction a few weeks ago. That was for a different novel, The Dying Detective (yet to be published here) but it's the third time he's won this award so he can write. He does sell bobble-head dolls of himself on his website so there's a plus. Maybe I'll try another of his books but probably not the sequel to this one.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Is There Such A Thing As A Worst Fear?


It's important to know that I am a coward. I have an extremely low threshold of fear. This is no exaggeration. Scooby Doo cartoons make me anxious. True. Five minutes in when the mysterious phantom of The Old Mill first appears I have already thought about changing the channel three times. Then by the time those pesky kids are about to pull the mask off of the mysterious phantom and reveal that it is really Innkeeper Jones and that he was able to walk through walls using an overhead projector, paint cans and soft cheeses I am whimpering in terror and distress.

There is a solution to my Scooby scares and I didn't need a woman's magazine to discover it. Yea me! I simply do not watch Scooby Doo any more. Gave it up. Cold turkey. I do still miss Freddie and his ascot from time to time but this was all for the greater good, right?

Sometimes I have to risk the scare because I cannot resist the lure of a movie or television show. Two good examples are The Two Towers and The Return of the King movies from The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. I had to see them because the previews looked too wonderful. What's frightening there you might ask. Golem. I had never read the books and knew nothing about them other than that we sold a lot of them and that they were kept in the fantasy section in the store. When I went to see The Fellowship of the Ring I was completely unprepared. After we saw our first glimpse of Golem I remember grabbing friend A's hand and asking her what the hell was that. She laughed and told me that there would be more of that later. She of course was right and I kept sleeping with the lights on.

About two years ago I miraculously found the courage to sleep with my bedroom light off. I know. Setting aside my advanced age in terms of night lights (This by the way was no nightlight. It was the lamp on my nightstand.) I was sort of proud of myself for being able to turn the switch. To lie down and close my eyes in total darkness. How did this happen? I have no idea. Maybe I turned more green than yellow. Anyway this happy to be me time was short lived because now the light is back on and this time it's my own damn fault.

I have been watching AMC's The Walking Dead. Oh in God's name why did I do this???? I knew what it would do to me. I knew that this would mean the end of self-esteem and smaller electric bills. I knew that by tuning in to a TV show centered around zombies that any courage I had found would be gone. I had to see it. Their other original programs have been so good and I do have a predisposition to post apocalyptic storylines---I was a goner. The Walking Dead has been excellent. Once again I know nothing of the original source material so I can't compare it to that and I have no idea where it's all going to end up.

In the name of self preservation I do not watch it when the new episodes air on Sunday nights at ten o'clock. That would be total sleep suicide and not an option. So I tape it (I know. I still use a VCR. How quaint.) and watch it later during the daytime. As any coward knows when you expose yourself to scary material between the times of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. the sun acts as a dismay disinfectant and your ability to frighten yourself during daylight hours disappears. True. There are studies I could site. However the sun's awesome powers fade away after dark.

The episode two weeks ago when part of the survivors go back to Atlanta to get the guns and find Merle was when I experienced my single most embarrassing moment of cowardice to date---and that is saying a lot my friend. As Glenn is working his way toward the bag of guns in the street and a seemingly dead zombie in a car suddenly opens his eyes and sees him I had to turn the television off immediately and turn on the Christmas music station on the radio. I did eventually finish watching that episode but not until the next day.

~~Sigh~~ And so I sleep once again with the light on. Will I be able to turn the light off after this season's final episode of The Walking Dead next week? No. Will that light still be on when season number two rolls around? Yes. Will I still watch? Yes.

Oh well.