I was reading on January 8th!
Last Thursday was the second annual "Day to Read" organised by Soccer Mom in Denial. And as announced I stayed away for one day from all blogs (reading or posting myself) and I took a book in my hands during that extre spare time.
As a matter of fact, I've done much more reading than I anticipated as I had little else to do. I had some minor surgery scheduled on Jan 8th around noon (the removal of a recurring infected cyst at my buttocks. argh) and I took my book to the hospital. Due to a minunderstanding I wrongly assumed getting local anesthetics but apparently I was supposed to get general anesthetics. I wasn't aware of it and had still enjoyed a breakfast so my surgery got moved on the schedule to the last spot of the day in order to get my stomac completely empty. All of a sudden I had hours to wait in the hospital bed to become very hungry, nervous and stressed.....and I could kill all of that time with my book that I had fortunately only just started.
Ironically enough my book was "Chili Death" by Susan Wittig Albert: a China Bayles Mystery with a mystery death at a chili cooking competition. Oh great, lots of references to ingredients and recipes....while you are getting hungrier and hungrier!!!!!
I had read a China Bayles mystery before (Hangman's root) and I liked the main charachter who gave up the rat race of being a lawyer in Houston and settled in a little made-up Texan town Peacan Springs where she is running a herb store. I love reading a detective that is sprinkled with little herb stories and a mystery where herbs are somehow involved in the plot. As you know, I do love herbs :).
This time China Bayles was attending the local chili cooking competition (apparently a really big thing in Texas?!) (and Texan Chili dus not have beans in it....hmmm mine does... a lot of beans) and somebody got killed due to added peanuts in one of the samples.
What I dislike in this series is the start of the book where you get to meet in a more artificial way (eg you come into the coffee shop and all the people present get described) the entire village with too many details at once. I like books when the story keeps flowing and actions happen. I do not like pushing myself through a a few pages of character discriptions while I worry that I'll never keep the different protagonists from one another later on in the story. This was the case in this story as well: a lot of villagers play a role and have their importance and it takes a while before you find your way around it. But fortunately the story gets more and more intriguing and the story builds up and then you really keep going because you want to know who has done it. And the author did manage to suprise me at the end.
So I think I'll look for some more books in this series next time I'm in the library. Anyone who likes a good detective in a small town setting should also like the China Bayles mysteries. It's not literature that will ever win the Nobel Price but it's good entertainment.
Other dectectives I really can recommend are the Lindsay Chamberlain series by Beverly Connor: an archaeologist/forensic researcher always ends up in local old mysteries that she needs to resolve. The story here usually flows right from the start at high speed in contrast with the China Bayles mysteries.
And with a lot of time on my hands right now that the sleepiness and nausea of the narcosis has worn off on me (and while I'm condemned to laying flat on my belly most of the day), I'm now ready to start reading "The blood of Flowers" by Anita Amirrezvani. The editorial comment claims it is as good as the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, which is probably very very subjective. But it's been a year since my themed winter with "islam world" books that I was reading last year and after 3 detectives in a row this winter, I'm ready for something different again. So I'm ready to travel to Iran of the 17th century.