Saturday, July 26, 2008

Arturo Pérez-Reverte

One of the countries that I would love to visit and spend time in is Spain (another is Italy). Spain's history is long, varied, not always nice, and extremely interesting. I did actually visit Spain once.... a military plane that I was on landed on Palma de Mallorca (a resort island on the southeast side of Spain) to refuel. I spent an hour wandering the airport and looking out the windows.

A Spanish author that I've recently discovered is Arturo Pérez-Reverte (and here). He is probably most well known for his book The Dumas Club (which I haven't read) and his Captain Alatriste series. I've just finished Captain Alatriste which is set in the early 1600's in Madrid. Written in a lighthearted humorous style, Pérez-Reverte succeeds in describing life (and death) in Spain at the height of her power and influence. I greatly enjoyed this story and look forward to further adventures of Captain Alatriste.

I read The Flanders Panel (also by Pérez-Reverte) a month or so ago and, again, appreciated the story set in modern Spain. A mystery set around a chess game in a painting... what's not to love? Well... the ending was a bit contrived and I must say a bit disappointing. If I were into giving stars, I'd want to give it 5 stars but would probably go 3 1/2 or 4 because of the ending.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ok we're moved!

Story over. We're settled. The books are all unpacked (not shelved yet... but hey whaddya want?). School starts in three weeks. The kids have made new friends.

This picture was taken on a cloudy day and the grass and shrubs need trimmed. Otherwise that's pretty much our new house. There is a small creek that runs behind and around the side that is full of trees and birds (and snakes, much to my wife's dismay). I'm sure when it comes time to rake leaves we'll be cussing the trees, but right now, it's nice to be able to sit comfortably on the back deck in full shade when it's 90+ degrees.

One of the aspects of moving is the change in baseball allegiences. This part of the state is solidly St. Louis Cardinal territory. I may never see another Royals game on TV (except when they play the Cards). I'm ok with that. It'll be nice to have a team to root for that actually competes for the division championship instead of trying not to finish last. I'll still follow the Royals of course...but not as closely.

School starts in three weeks. More on that later.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Eating Cactus...

Don't do it! No matter how thirsty you are. This is the point behind the title of Dan White's book The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind and Almost Found Myself on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Dan's blog