Remembering Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels

RIP EP (960x1280) It was with much sorrow that I learned last week that Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels) died on August 8. This notice appeared soon after on the author’s website:

“Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters & Barbara Michaels) died peacefully at home early in the morning of Aug. 8, 2013. She had put up a very tough battle against cancer for over a decade, in a style worthy of Amelia. She preferred not to be fussed over, and so did not make her illness public. She died as she had told everyone she wanted to – unexpectedly, in her sleep. Shortly before her death, she had written a line to be posted on this webpage: “At 85, Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Michaels) is enjoying her cats, her garden, lots of chocolate, and not nearly enough gin.””

I never met Ms. Mertz, never saw her in person, but I’ll admit to having shed a few tears when I learned of her death. On Thursday evening I poured myself a whiskey and soda (one of Amelia Peabody’s favorite drinks) and began a reread of Crocodile on the Sandbank, the first in the Amelia Peabody series. Continue reading

Giving Up on a Book by a Favorite Author

pirateking AAR has a standing policy that reviewers do not do DNF reviews. No matter how awful the book, we must finish reading it. This policy has resulted in some pretty miserable reading for me over the last few years, but despite that, I heartily agree with the policy. Sometimes something happens toward the end of a book that changes a straight D to a C-. Likewise, sometimes something toward the end shifts a book from a C to a D or lower. So many books are uneven, that without reading the entire book, we can’t give an unbiased review.

However, as a result of this policy I’ve read (and recently listened to) a number of C-, D, and even F books for review. These mediocre, and sometimes downright unpleasant, reading experiences have made me even pickier about my personal reading than I was before I began reviewing at AAR. Continue reading