Saturday, December 10, 2005

Rhinovirus got you down? What to Read When You Are Too Sick to Think

Go to the paperback originals (published right to paperback rather than hardcover) for really light reading. Before capitulating to a bad cold this week, I grabbed two mysteries off the New Fiction shelf which turned out to be entertaining, light, funny and just the right degree of mindlessness to penetrate my cottonwool-filled brain. As the snow came blowing in, I read Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard which is about a thirty-something librarian, Ophelia Jensen, who with the help of her grandmother Abby and a handsome stranger in town, solves some local mysteries involving thefts of fertilizer, murder and a bomb-making militia group in small-town Summerset, Iowa. The hook here is that Ophelia and Abby are psychics or good witches who practice Appalachian-style, folk magick - the good kind.
I'm back at work and will finish the other mystery this weekend: My Very Own Murder by Josephine Carr. Fifty-something, divorced, wealthy Anne Johnson, lives in a beautiful old apartment building near Rock Creek Park and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. She and a new friend solve a murder which hasn't happened yet. This book is wryly funny with sassy middle-aged women characters. The hook here, for me, is that I lived in the apartment building right next to Anne's not-really fictional one, while I was in library school, and I used to walk to the Zoo daily.
Which brings me to a non-book thing to do while sick, or well, or just in need of a pleasant diversion: go (immediately) to the panda cam site of the National Zoo to see the baby panda, Tai Shan, play and roll around and eat and sleep and do other really adorable panda activities. Sometimes his large mother, Mei Xiang, ambles in front of the camera and picks up and cuddles Tai Shan. Tai Shan is five months old and yesterday was his official debut; unfortunately he slept through most of the wildly anticipated event. He does sleep a lot, but be patient, when he plays, it's worth the wait.

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