The Daily Bongo

May 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015 -- Evening

cover of Picture Miss Seeton by Heron Carvic
Picture Miss Seeton by Heron Carvic
I have been having problems getting into a book lately, so I made a switch over to something light and frothy. I had heard about the Miss Seeton books, and always meant to try one, so i picked up the first in the series, Picture Miss Seeton by Heron Carvic. In this book, we are introduced to Miss Seeton, elderly art teacher, who happens upon a fight between a woman and her boyfriend in a dark alley. Miss Seeton pokes the man with her umbrella, gets knocked down, and finds that the woman/girlfriend has been stabbed to death. That starts the whole craziness where Miss Seeton becomes the center of violent attacks by the drug ring that the boyfriend is part of. Miss Seeton goes to stay in the small village of Plummergen, where her godmother had left her cottage to Miss Seeton. Miss Seeton gets into various escapades, but manages to pull out of all of them with a poke of the umbrella.

I'm not sure if I like Miss Seeton. She seems like a bit of an idiot. Someone tries to kidnap her, but she thinks that it's really just a lark by a youngster. I found myself shaking my head at her several times. It was really annoying when she would keep important facts from the police because she didn't think that it was really important or criminal activity. I will be reading more because they are light, frothy reads. However, if Miss Seeton continues being such an annoying idiot, I might have to change my mind!

cover of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 -- Evening

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
It's been a long time since I read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. My only memory of the book is what I saw in the movie. So I thought that I would re-read the book, and refresh my memory. I'm glad that I did. The plot of the book is very similar to the movie. Obviously, the main plot, that John Hammond built a park with dinosaurs in Costa Rica. The dinosaurs came from the DNA of mosquitos caught in amber millions of years ago. Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, and Ian Malcolm are the main protagonists, and Dennis Nedry attempts to steal the dinosaur embryos. The book, though, has more detail, and some slight divergences. There are more people on the island. Some of the people who live in the book, die in the movie and vice versa. And the kids: Timmy is the older one, and Lex is young one.

Crichton's story is quite enjoyable, and you can see Crichton's personal quirks showing up in Ian Malcolm. Grant and the kids have a much more tense time getting back from the outage that leaves them stranded in the park, and the whole group are attacked much more frequently than in the movie. I really miss Crichton's writing, and I'll probably be re-reading more in the future. Next up will be The Lost World.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 -- Evening

cover of Skulduggery by Carolyn Hart
Skulduggery by Carolyn Hart
I didn't realize that Carolyn Hart wrote books before her Death on Demand series. Boy, was I wrong! One of my favorite books when I was a preteen was Dangerous Summer, which I reread last February 26. I've been reading some of the other vintage Harts and enjoying them. When I saw Skulduggery, the description really attracted me. The story was written in the 1980s, and the main protagonist is Ellen Christie. She is an anthropologist who has gotten some notoriety for identifying bones. One evening, Jimmy Lee shows up at her door with a strange request. He wants her to identify some bones. Ellen decides to be adventurous and goes with Jimmy into San Francisco's Chinatown to check out the bones. Jimmy shows her a skull, which Ellen thinks may be the missing Peking Man (an ancient Chinese skeleton that vanished during World War II). While Ellen is examining the skull, Jimmy's brother, Dan, shows up, shortly followed by some gangsters, probably hoping to grab Peking Man. Jimmy escapes, and Dan and Ellen are left behind to figure out what is going on--and how to find Jimmy and Peking Man.

Doesn't that sound like a fun story? The book wasn't very long, but after the attack where Jimmy vanishes, the book began to drag for me. I started to skim the book because Hart just went on and on about the awful life that Chinese immigrants had in the US. They were poor and lived in squalor. Families fought for a chance to educate their children, to make life better for the children. Old people died alone and destitute. This dialog didn't really move the story any further, and I started to skim the pages to get to the action. Eventually, there is some more at the end, and Ellen and Dan find romance. However, I found the book to be a more tiresome read, and I did not enjoy it as much as I have the other vintage Harts that I've read. If you read it, I hope that your experience is different.