Reading Report for Northern, Central Texas: January and February 2018


January was a great reading month for me.  I was able to read my way through some of the large stack of books I received for Christmas.  I love getting books as gifts.  I bought Neil Gaiman’s book, Norse Mythology last year for Spring Break.  I finally got around to reading it in January.  It was wonderfully informative and entertaining.  I have blogged about Bridge of Birds, Frogkisser, and Finding the Constellations. These were all stellar books.  I am a Nora Roberts fan so I especially enjoyed reading her new book.  I am reading Finding Your Why for work.  It is an interesting read.  We have been working to find our personal whys.  February was a slower reading month as you can see by the size of the stack.

These days I find out what both girls are reading from their Facebook posts.  The three of us are participating in the 52 Book Challenge 2018.

All of us here at Haus Reimund love reading and we wish you “Happy Reading, Too!”

Robin’s list

  • Hughart, Barry, Bridge of Birds: A Novel of China That Never Was. New York: Del Rey, 1984
  • Nix, Garth. New York: Scholastic, 2017
  • Sarath, Patrice. The Unexpected Miss Bennett. New York: Berkley Books, 2011.
  • Thomas, Sherry. A Conspiracy in Belgravia. New York: Berkley Books, 2017.
  • Gaiman, Neil. Norse Mythology. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2017
  • Roberts, Nora. Year One. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017.
  • Hambly, Barbara. Bride of the Rat God. New York: Del Rey, 1994.
  • Rey, H.A. Finding the Constellations, 2nd New York: Sandpiper, 2008.
  • Hanks, Tom. Uncommon Type. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017.
  • Sinek, Simon, David Mead, and Peter Docker. Finding Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team. New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2017.
  • Pilkey, Dav. The Adventures of Captain Underpants. New York: Scholastic, 1997.

Alexis’ list

  • Hughart, Barry, Bridge of Birds: A Novel of China That Never Was. New York: Del Rey, 1984
  • Sarath, Patrice. The Unexpected Miss Bennett. New York: Berkley Books, 2011.
  • Mertz, Barbara. Temples, Tombs, & Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt. New York: William Morrow, 1984, 2007
  • Lucas, Dale. The Fifth Ward: First Watch. New York: Orbit, 2017.
  • Maaren, Kari. Weave a Circle Round. New York: TOR Books, 2017.
  • Telfer, Tori. Lady Killers: Deadly Women throughout History. New York: Harper Perennial, 2017.
  • VanderMeer, James. Johanes Cabal the Necromancer. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010.
  • VanderMeer, James. Annihilation: A Novel. New York: FSG Originals, 2014. (ebook)
  • Howard, Jonathan L. Johannes Cabal: The Feat Institute. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014.

Jim’s list

  • Nye, Bill and Gregory Mone. Jack and the Geniuses at the Bottom of the World. New York: Scholastic, 2017.
  • Carver, Jeffrey A. The Chaos Chronicles, Books 1-3 (Neptune Crossing, Strange Attractor, & Infinite Sea). NP: Starstream Publications, 2010 (nook book).

Sarah’s list

  • Meyer, Scott. Off to Be the Wizard. Seattle, WA: 47North, 2014. (ebook)
  • Meyer, Scott. Spell or High Water. Seattle, WA: 47North, 2014. (ebook)
  • Cooper, Susan. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2006.
  • Holt, Tom. New York: Orbit, 2012 (ebook)
  • Howe, Deborah and James. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010 (ebook). Originally published 1979.
  • Walker, Rysa. New York: Amazon Publishing, 2014.

National Short Story Day: The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories

MistletoeMurderJames, P.D. The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.

I offer this thin volume in celebration of National Short Story Day and of the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.  It contains four delicious short stories by  PD James, one of the world’s greatest mystery writers.  I bought this little goodie some time earlier this year and saved it to read after Thanksgiving and before Christmas.  It is the newest addition to my Christmas book collection.

All four of these stories have unexpected turnings and endings, a hallmark of James’ work.  All are tales of murder.  Two of the stories feature one of my favorite fictional detectives, Adam Dalgliesh.

The first story is “The Mistletoe Murders”.  In this story a young woman is unexpectedly invited to her grandmother’s house for the Christmas holidays.  Her mother was estranged from the family and this young woman is interested in meeting her relatives. As happens in a novel of another great dame of English crime literature, there is a body in the library.   Finding out who did it and why will keep you on the edge of your seat.

“A Very Commonplace Murder” comes next.  This was the creepiest of the four stories.  A distasteful, seedy clerk with a taste for pornography witnesses a murder.   Why doesn’t he report what he has seen?  This one will send more that one shiver down your spine.  I had to read the ending twice to find all the twists the author leaves one.

I was so surprised to learn, who actually murdered the victim in “The Boxdale Inheritance”!  I wonder, if Chief Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh was as well? His godfather, the Canon Hubert Boxdale, is to received a legacy of 50,000 pounds from his step grandmother, Allie Boxdale.  Before he feels he can accept this boon, he wants to know, if Allie murdered his grandfather. He feels that in his position, he cannot accept a tainted inheritance. At the time of the murder Allie was young and Hubert’s grandfather was old.  The marriage itself was a small scandal, although at age 4, young Hubert wasn’t aware of this fact.  She was acquitted of the murder, but the Canon felt he had to be certain before he accepted his legacy.

Finally, we have “The Twelve Clues of Christmas”.  Here is an early investigation from a newly promoted Sergeant Adam Dalgliesh. On his way to have Christmas with his Aunt Alice, he is flagged down by a man frantic to report a suicide at Harkerville Hall.  He asks Adam for a ride to the nearest telephone box. Is it a suicide or a murder? Sergeant Dalgliesh has the opportunity to do a bit of sleuthing before the local constabulary arrives.  The local constable dismmisses it as a suicide, but he puts in a call to the local CID to be complete and orderly.  Adam continues on his way to Aunt Alice’s cabin. He has only time to settle in with a drink by her fire, when his help is requested by Inspector Peck from the local CID.  They return to the Harkerville House.  It appears that it may not be a simple suicide. When asked by the Inspector what struck him about the situation, here is Adam’s reply.

A number of oddities, Sir.  If this were a detective story, you could call it “The Twelve Clues of Christmas.” It’s taken a little mental agility to get the number to twelve, but I thought it appropriate.

Here’s where the story gets its title and yes, there are twelve clues or questions to be answered.  Who did it?  You will have to read the story, it was quite interesting.

This was a fine little volume of stories filled with murder and mystery.  Each story is carefully plotted and written with grace and elegance.  PD James has the knack for capturing the complex and sometime unsettling aspects of human nature.  If you can find a time in this holiday season to brew a cup of tea, grab a cookie, and find a cozy corner to enjoy these stories.  These short stories will keep you entertained on the shortest day or the longest night or any time.

Reading Report from Northern, Central Texas: April 2017

This final day of April has been lovely here in my part of central Texas!  It started out gloomy and cool and has ended sunny and mild.  From my new blogging spot, I can see our backyard bathed in the late evening sunshine.  It is a lovely evening.

Can you believe that a full quarter of 2017 has sped by?  I can’t imagine where the time has gone.  I would have liked to have spent more time reading.


This book’s title looks interesting.  I need to get a copy for myself.  I will get him to write a guest post, when he finishes it.

  • Krauss, Lawrence M. The Greatest Story Ever Told So Far: Why Are We Here? New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017.


Sarah had a little extra time for reading this month.  Here is a partial list for her and some of the comments she posted on Facebook about these books.

  • Wiles, Deborah. Countdown. New York: Scholastic, 2010.

So, my car is in the shop this week so no dance for me so I’ve been doing some extra reading. I started with this book, Countdown, and what a great read! It’s a historical fiction documentary type book that centers around the life of an 11-year old girl during the Cuban missile crisis.

“There are always scary things happening in the world. There are always wonderful things happening. And it’s up to you to decide how you’re going to approach the world… how you’re going to live in it, and what you’re going to do.”

  • Lorenzi, Natalie Dias. Flying the Dragon. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2012

Yesterday’s book, Flying the Dragon, was a fun short read. The story focuses on two children Skye Tsuki and Hiroshi Tsuki.

Skye lives near Washington DC. Her mother is an American and her father is Japanese. She has never really explored or taken an interest in her Japanese heritage until she is forced to when her cousin Hiroshi’s family and her Grandfather move from Japan into the neighborhood.

Hiroshi loves living in Japan, he especially loves spending time with his grandfather who is a master kite maker and the rokkaku champion of their village. Hiroshi must now move to America with is family and encounters many challenges at school and at home.

  • Dauvillier, Loïc. Illustrated by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo. Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust. New York: First Second, 2012.

Hidden is a short book about a little girl who wakes up one night to find that her grandmother is recovering from a nightmare. When the little girl inquires about her grandmother’s dream she is told the story of her grandmother growing up as a little Jewish girl in France during WW2.


As always, our most prolific reader.  Here are some of the books she read this month.

  • Griffith, Clay and Susan Griffith. The Shadow Revolution. New York: Del Rey, 2015.
  • Martin, Nancy. Dead Girls Don’t Wear Diamonds. New York: Signet, 2003.
  • Haines, Carolyn. Greedy Bones. New York: Minotaur, 2010.
  • Alt, Madelyn. No Rest for the Wiccan. New York: Berkley, 2008
  • Alt, Madelyn. Where There’s a Witch. New York: Berkley, 2009
  • Alt, Madelyn. A Witch in Time. New York: Berkley, 2011
  • Page, Katherine Hall. The Body in the Vestibule. New York: Avon, 1997.
  • Haydon, Elizabeth. Rhapsody. New York: Tor, 1999


This month I finally finished the first book of The New Sun by Gene Wolfe.  Considered a classic of science fiction, I am glad to have persevered through it.  At one point in my life, I might have liked this book, but I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought.  It puts me in mind of  Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan, also considered a classic, and I feel the same way about both books.  They are dark and dystopian.

  • Wiles, Deborah. New York: Scholastic, 2010.
  • MacAvoy, R.A. The Book of Kells. New York: Open Road, 1985.
  • Chesterton, G.K. The Complete Father Brown Stories. Herefordshire, England: Wordsworth Classics, 1972.
  • Cline, Ernest. Armada. New York: Broadway, 2015
  • Wolfe, Gene. Book of the New Sun (The Shadow of the Torturer and The Claw of the Conciliator). London: Orion, 1980, 1981.

March 2017: Reading Report from Northern, Central Texas


March was a very busy month!  The weather was mild and we spent extra time outside.  The whole of central Texas turned green.  It is always amazing to see the springtime transformation.  We had rain so the roadways are abundantly decorated with wildflowers.  You see Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush and a variety of yellow blooms almost everywhere you look.  In my yard, I have Anemones, Prairie Verbena, False Garlic and Yellow Evening Primrose.  It is a beautiful time of the year.  I spent much of my time working in my gardens to spruce them up for the coming year.  I was tired at the end of the day so my before bed reading time was diminished.  Despite the extra yard work, I was able to finish a good book or two.

Green Trees Texas
My backyard this afternoon.  Look at how green it is.


One of my favorites this month, was Newt’s Emerald.  It was written by Garth Nix.  Some of you may know him from his Old Kingdom Trilogy: Sabriel, Arbhorsen, and Lirael. Newt’s Emerald is a charming Regency romance, think Georgette Heyer.  How can you fail to love a character named Lady Truthful Newington, Newt to her family. It was fun to read.

  • Nix, Garth.  Newt’s Emerald.  New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2015.
  • Cho, Zen.  Sorcerer to the Crown.  New York: Ace Books, 2015.
  • Bujold, Lois McMaster. Pendric’s Mission.  New York: Spectrum Literary Agency, 2016 [eBook].
  • MacAvoy, R.A. The Book of Kells. New York, Open Road, 1985.
  • Chesterton, G.K. The Complete Father Brown Stories. Herefordshire, England: Wordsworth Classics, 1992.
  • Cline, Ernest.  Armada.  New York: Broadway Books, 2015.


  • Robinson, Kim Stanley.  2312. New York: Orbit, 2012
  • McDevitt, Jack.  Hercules Text. New York: Ace Books, 1986.

Jim invested several months in the book 2312. He wrote a guest post for this blog earlier this month [] on this book.


  • Nix, Garth.  Newt’s Emerald.  New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2015.
  • Knight, Jim.  Better Conversations: Coaching Ourselves and Each Other to Be More Credible, Caring and Connected.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2016.
  • Connoly, Tina.  Seriously Wicked. New York: Tom Doherty & Associates Books, 2015.
  • Griffith, Clay and Susan Griffith. The Shadow Revolution. New York: Del Rey, 2015.

2016: A Year in Review

collage1_2016Happy New Year! I am starting 2017 with a review of books from 2016. Here is the consolidated list (libraryrecap).

I have enjoyed writing this blog. I began writing to explain to my new nephew, why I chose the books he received as a birth gift. My family encouraged me to write a blog.  They seem to think that I know something about children’s books.  They are so lovely and kind!  What I know about children’s books is that I like them.  If I could, I would inspire every child with the love of reading.  I like reading books. I like paring books with ideas, events and activities.

Since they encouraged me to write, I have been writing this blog for my pleasure and practice. Sometimes, but not often, it gets me out of dinner dishes (I can’t do dishes tonight, I have to work on my blog).  If I had stopped with the volumes purchased for my new nephew,  it would have been a very short blog. When I finished his list I segued to the rest of my children’s book collection.  Many of these books are old favorites of mine. It has been a lovely walk down memory lane. As I reread and write about these books, I remember snuggling up with my girls and sharing these stories.  Reading to children is a wonderful activity. It was fun, fun, fun to read and discover these books with my girls. It was fun, fun, fun to remember that time through this blog.

My family has become accustom to keeping a list of their readings for the monthly reading report. I hope that you have enjoyed these reports.  2016 was a very enjoyable reading year!  I hope it is another good year for reading and for all other endeavors.

Happy New Year to everyone! May your year be productive, satisfying and fun! Find some good books to read. Here are some of the books that were read in Haus Reimund in 2016.collage2_2016

November 2016 Reading Report from Northern, Central Texas

nov2016This month our stack is not so tall.  We did a lot of reading, but some of us read on electronics.


It was a busy month for me so I didn’t have as much time to read.  I am still reading the first volume of The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe that I started at the end of last month. It was on a list of the best Science Fiction books.  It is the dense, rich fantasy type of novel that I really enjoy.  Despite its appeal, I did take time out to read the book on the top of the stack,  The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley for a future blog posting.

  • Wolfe, Gene. Book of the New Sun, Volume I. London: Gollancz, 1981.


This month Jim finished The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu, the second book of the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy.  He is onto the final volume Death’s End.  He finds the books very dense and intriguing.

  • Liu, Cixin. The Dark Forest.  Translated by Ken Liu. New York: Tor, 2014.
  • Liu, Cixin. Death’s End. Translated by Ken Liu.  New York: Tor, 2016.


Sarah had extra reading time this month.  She spent quality time with her tablet and read much of Thanksgiving week.  They were all humorous books and she loved them. She liked the Maggie books.  Maggie’s a writer whose characters are so lifelike, they come out of her books and begin to solve mysteries with their author.

  • Pratchett, Terry. Wee Free Men. New York: Harper Collins, 2006.
  • Pratchett, Terry.  A Hat Full of Sky. New York: Harper Collins, 2005.
  • Michaels, Kasey. Maggie Has an Alibi.  New York: Kensington Books, 2003.
  • Michaels, Kasey. Maggie by the Book. New York: Kensington Books, 2004.
  • Michaels, Kasey. Maggie without a Clue. New York: Kensington Books, 2005.


Like most months, the lion’s share of the stack is Alexis’ reading.  She is in the process of reading all the rest of the books in the stack.  She seems to be a serial reader.  She was very excited this month that Grunt by Mary Roach became available at the library.  She has had this book on hold for 6 months or more.  This book has the subtitle of “The curious science of humans at war.”  She has enjoyed other books from this author like Stiff and Spook.  She has also been reading The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp. She started to tell me about this book’s two anti-heroes, a thief and a warrior-priest.  The more she described the book to me, the more I thought Fritz Leiber and his great characters Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser.  She said, “Yes, it is a lot like his books.”  Then I turned the book over and a reviewer referred to this book as a “sword and sorcery at its rollicking best, after the fashion of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser.” I may have to check it out and read it myself.

  • Roach, Mary. Grunt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016.
  • Kemp, Paul S. The Hammer and the Blade. New York: Del Rey, 2012.
  • Palma, Felix J. The Map of Time.  Translated by Nick Caistor. New York: Atria Paperpacks, 2008.
  • Stross, Charles.  The Atrocity Archives.  New York: Ace Books, 2004.

Tom Swift and His Rocket Ship and Astrotwins: Project Blastoff

discoveryThis summer I was luck enough to visit the Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum.  It is in a huge hangar at the Dulles Airport.  It has an impressive display of all kinds of airplanes and space vehicles, including the shuttle Discovery.  It was grand and amazing place. We had such a fun time there.  Before we left, I needed a souvenir to remember my visit.  I chose Mark Kelly’s book.

rocketboys2As I was looking for a book for this blog, I remembered this purchasing this book.  In the meantime I was perusing the bookshelf and I found Jim’s stash of Tom Swift, Jr. books.  I decided to read both of them and report out.

  • Appleton II, Victor. Tom Swift and His Rocket Ship. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1954.
  • Kelly, Mark. Astrotwins: Project Blastoff. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2015.

Tom Swift and his friend, Bud Barclay are preparing a rocket ship.  Tom and Bud along with a significant staff provided by his family’s company want to win the Rocket Race among Nations. Tom, Jr. is an inventory extraordinaire!  He has invented several things to gain advantage for the upcoming orbital flight around the earth.  He wants to win that race.  With a large lab for their work and an island to assemble the rocket, you might think it would be a shoe-in.  However, Tom has problems.  He has to contend with spies and saboteurs. A shady competitor, Rotzog, also wants to win Rocket Race.  Rotzog is determined to win and he doesn’t care what happens to Tom and Bud.  He thinks the race will help him be master of the world.  How do Tom and Bud escape this nefarious devil?  Do Tom & Bud win the Rocket Race of Nations? Find a copy of this book and find out.

As you can tell by the title, Mark Kelly’s book is about twins.  They are 11-year-old Mark and Scott.  It is summer and although they have chores to do and bikes to ride, they get restless.  The first thing they do is dismantle their Dad’s calculator, which lands them in hot water.  They are sent to visit their Grandpa.  This isn’t really a problem as they love to visit him.  Despite the chores Grandpa assigns and all the activities at his home, they get bored and begin to bicker. Their very smart Grandpa suggested that they practice détente and work on a project together.  One that will keep them out of trouble and from destroying things. The project they decided upon was to build and launch a rocket ship.  With plenty of help old friend, Barry and their new friends, Jenny (Egg), Howard and Lisa. They build a replica of John Glenn’s Friendship 7 capsule.  Was it easy? No!  They actually had to go to the library and study!  Who gets to fly it?  How will they power it?  Where will they launch it?  All the questions and more are answered in this very entertaining book.