Saturday, April 18, 2015

Cozies and Libraries

I enjoy reading "cozies", which are novels, usually in the 100,000 to 150,000 word bracket (smaller books) with a background theme that relates to something such as baking, soapmaking, or some other career of that ilk. They are easy on the brain, generally reasonably fast-paced, and do not have a lot of garbage sex or graphic descriptions of dead bodies. The characters are intelligent and enjoyable as a rule, and there is often a good amount of humour as well. Some have recipes included, others have descriptions of processes of the "craft" in the background, so they are educational in their own way too.

Tim Myers happens to write several of these easy-to-read-and-understand series but there are several other authors to enjoy as well. I have been reading the "Hannah Swensen" series (by Joanne Fluke) for the last several weeks and have grown quite fond of the main character. However, I have almost reached the end of the series, at least the end of the novels that have been written to date. This particular author publishes one or two books a year in this series and the latest one has just been published in March, so it will be a few months before another one comes out. I can't wait that long to read, so I will "test" out a few other authors... and I shall do that through my local library.

I love the library! Through it I can borrow any number of books, DVDs, CDs, and other entertainment items, read or listen to them, and hand them back in when I'm finished. The library allows me to check out new (to me) authors, series, and even types of books. If not for the library, I wouldn't have stumbled upon Hannah Swensen and the whole "cozy mystery" genre. I highly recommend libraries as a great source of entertainment.

It is through the library that I shall begin to read Tim Myers. Tim Myers is the author of several series and stand-alone books, including several "cozy mystery" series, as well as a few children's stories. He writes under aliases as well (Elizabeth Bright, Melissa Glazer, Chris Cavender, Casey Mayes, Jessica Beck, & D. B. Morgan). I haven't read any of his novels, so I have ordered two from different series. I've also ordered a few DVDs of television shows that I enjoy, but that's a whole 'nother topic. At any rate, I'll let you know what I think of Tim Myers as I progress.

I did want to make one comment about authors who write under different names. When reading through comments made by people who have read their books I have often seen negative or quasi-negative comments about who they really are. For instance, there was a person who was upset because the main (male) character in one of Tim Myers' books (Dead Men Don't Lye) was over 30 and still taking his laundry home for his mother to do for him. The comment went like this: " I have assumed that "Tim Myers" is a pen name for a woman- -at least, I hope it is, because I cannot imagine the man who could identify with, let alone create, Ben, the series protagonist." I found this comment quite humourous, although it wasn't meant to be. I mean, all the reader had to do was a little search on Google to find out who Tim Myers is. Would the author of that comment enjoy the book less if he thought a man had written it? I wonder. Personally I've met men like the protagonist who do this, so this character wouldn't be terribly unusual to me. I suppose if you haven't known anyone like this, the character would be.

At any rate, I am off for this time. I've put holds on my books and will pick them up this week. Then I can get to know "Ben" and make my own judgements. Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Temperance Brennan Character

We have been in our home a couple of months and we have been progressing slowly with getting things settled. We have furniture in our living room now, however, and that makes it much more comfortable. Instead of a couch and chair, we decided to get four chairs. In our storage we have a huge library of books and will be building bookcases all around the living room to accommodate them, so chairs just make better sense because you can actually set them in front of bookcases without it looking stupid or making it impossible to get at the books. We also bought a nice storage bench for our dogs. That sounds funny, so let me explain. The windows in the house are not at floor level. The dogs enjoy looking out the window. We put the bench in front of the living room window and they can sit on it to see out. The dogs love it... and so do I because there is that nice storage area in it.

And that catches you up with my life a bit. Now, on to my comments on Temperance Brennan...

I am a fan of the television series "Bones". I enjoy the show for its intelligent humour and I really like Temperance. I have been planning on reading the novels by Kathy Reichs since I discovered the television show but haven't had the first book until recently. I don't like to read a series out of order because then the background doesn't make sense. The television series says its based on the novels, so I expected to see references to Brennan's television life in the books. Not so. The only thing that is the same, it seems, is the name of the lead character.

On television, Temperance Brennan has a rather strange and distressing childhood after she turns 15. Her parents, it turns out, are criminals on the run from other criminals. They desert both her brother and her before Christmas of her 15th year, and her brother leaves as well. Temperance then goes into "the system" as a foster child... but she also somehow manages to get enough money to go to university where she earns her doctorate in anthropology (and, it seems, in archeology, since she is off on "archeological digs" around the world). She earns a reputation for being 'the best in the world in her field'. Temperance's name was changed when she was quite young, but she chooses to keep her assumed name after she finds out. She eventually gets working with the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington, DC. Her best friend is Angela. She marries FBI agent Sealy Booth, whom she also works with. Her daughter's name is Christine.

In the novels, Temperance Brennan is older. She has lived through an equally distressing childhood, although it isn't because her father and mother are "bad guys", but rather because her father is an alcoholic. She grew up with her parents in North Carolina. She hasn't had to change her name. She has moved to Montreal, Canada, where she went to school for part of her post-secondary education. She was married to someone named Jeff, whom she split with not long before heading to Canada. Her best friend (since university) is Gabby. Her daughter's name is Katy.

In both series Temperance is intelligent, has a good sense of humour, and knows her specialty extremely well. She is good at investigative work. In the television series she has an expert team of scientists to help her out. In the novels, she doesn't have that, although she does have people in various departments to test those things that she can't.

Each of these series has its merits and I am enjoying them both. When I began to read the novels, I thought there would be connections to the television series. Without those connections, I have decided to read and watch these series as separate entities and ignore the fact that each have a lead character that just happens to have the same name. Otherwise, the "picky" part of me will always be comparing the two, and there really is no comparison.