Thursday, May 17, 2018

Book Beginnings: The Quest of the Missing Map

The Quest of the Missing Map, by Carolyn Keene. These are the book's first lines:
Chapter 1 - The Haunted House 
Her golden red hair flying in the wind, Nancy Drew ran up the porch steps and opened the front door of her home. 
She could hear Hannah Gruen, the Drews' housekeeper, saying to someone in the living room, "Why don't you tell your mysterious story to Nancy? She's a really clever young detective."

About the Book:
Nancy investigates a small ship cottage at the Chatham estate and discovers a connection between the mysterious occurrences at the cottage and an island where a lost treasure is said to be buried. With one half of a map, Nancy sets out to find a missing twin brother who holds the other half. The mystery becomes dangerous when an assailant hears about the treasure and is determined to push Nancy off the trail. Can she endure this and other grave dangers, and recover in time to solve the mystery? (-summary from Wikipedia)

Initial Thoughts:

I haven't actually decided if I'm going to read this one or not. It's the 19th book in the enormously successful Nancy Drew mystery series. It was first published in 1942 and then went through several reissues (and revisions) over the years. I haven't read Nancy Drew since I was a preteen, but I was looking for a book with a Q/K title/author combination for one of the challenges I'm doing over at Library Thing, and this one popped out at me.

I thought I had read all the early Nancy Drew books, but I don't remember this one. Although that opening could be from any of them: It's such perfect Nancy — her "golden red hair" was always flying in the wind, or shining in the sun, or glittering against her velvety evening cloak.

The cover above is from the original 1942 edition, but I think this is the one I remember, from the late 1950s:

I loved these stories when I was a kid, and this could be a really neat walk down memory lane. Or a huge disappointment. So, to read or not to read? Am I too old for the girl detective?

Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.

Monday, May 14, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

OK, middle of May already. Haven't finished any books this month. And I've only posted one review, of one of the books I finished in April:

Time Out of Joint, by Philip K. Dick

This is going to be a busy week for us — lots of stuff to do around the house. But I think I should be able to sneak in a little reading. The book I'm reading now is one of the books I've got on my list for the Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge:

Pale Horse, Pale Rider, by Katherine Anne Porter

So far, I'm enjoying this one. It's been on my TBR pile for quite a while now, so it'll qualify for the Mount TBR Challenge, too. And speaking of reading challenges, now that we're approaching midyear, I guess it's time to take a look at how I'm doing in that area. At the moment, I think I'm on track with most of my challenges. And that's definitely a little unusual for me.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Time Out of Joint, by Philip K. Dick

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
240 pages, Kindle edition
First published 1959

In this early Philip K. Dick novel, 46-year-old Ragle Gumm has a perfectly ordinary life, living with his sister Margo and Margo's husband Vincent in a nice quiet, perfectly ordinary community. The only extraordinary thing about Ragle is that he makes his living by winning a daily newspaper contest — the contest is called "Where Will the Little Green Man Be Next?" and Ragle wins it everyday by predicting exactly where this little green person will show up. He has the world's longest-running contest-winning record, and his entire life is devoted to the task.

But lately Ragle has begun having doubts about both those things — his life and the contest. After having some very disturbing hallucinations and a few worrisome encounters, he begins thinking maybe there's more going on than just game-playing. Or maybe someone's just playing a game with him. And when he begins investigating, he comes to believe that there might be a lot more than his reputation resting on his daily win. It's beginning to seem to Ragle that the fate of the world might just be somehow centered on him and his ability to predict the outcome of the daily "Little Green Man" puzzle. But how much of what he imagines is just imagination? And how much is real? Or is any of it real?

Can't say much more about the book because there are twists and surprises I don't want to reveal. Some I saw coming, some caught me completely off guard.

This is the first Philip K. Dick novel I've read, although I think I might have read some of his short fiction back in the 1970s an '80s. I've had this one on my TBR shelf for literally decades, and I'm really glad I finally got around to reading it; for the most part, it was very enjoyable — a little slow in places, but not so slow that I felt like abandoning or skipping ahead to the ending. And it's definitely made me want to read more of his work.

Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑


Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge .
Mount TBR Reading Challenge .