The History of Kate Shugak in 20 Objects

And now, for something completely new and different—

Beginning today and the first Wednesday of every month for the next twenty months I will be posting a series of blog posts called “A History of Kate Shugak in Twenty Objects.” Each object will come from the book displayed that month. A Fatal Thaw will be April’s book, Dead in the Water will be May’s book, and like that.

[Click here for a list of the Kate Shugak novels in order.]

I’m picking the first object, obviously. But for the next 19 months, Danamaniacs are invited to leave suggestions for next month’s object. I’ll pick my favorite of your suggestions and it will go up here the first Wednesday of the following month.

WARNING: Spoilers spoken here. Continue reading


Let’s go surfin’ now, everybody’s learning how…

Amazing Leroy Grannis surfing photographs.

photo by Leroy Grannis

His photos have been collected in a book, too.


Global Warming? or Climate Change?

If you really want to fuel the debate on global warming/climate change/whatever, you can’t do better than read Brian Fagan’s The Little Ice Age.

It’s a fascinating book about the years between 1300AD and 1800AD, a period following the Medieval Warm Period, which extended between the years 800-1300AD. “The heyday of the Norse,” Fagan writes, “…was not only a byproduct of such social factors as technology, over-population and opportunism. Their great conquests and explorations took place during a period of unusually mild and stable weather in northern Europe.” During this Warm Period, the polar ice retreated and the Norse were free to ransack coastal communities all the way to Constantinople and to emigrate all the way to Maine. The Basques made it all the way across the Atlantic to find the cod fishing grounds off the Grand Banks. European farmers started planting crops farther north and reaping harvests large enough to fund the building of magnificent cathedrals.

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You Mean the First Detective Wasn’t C. Auguste Dupin?

[from the vaults, July 11, 2011]

Fascinating story about the first detective novel, The Notting Hill Murders, whose existence was ferreted out by author Paul Collins (The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars, June 2011). The novel itself sounds pretty darn good, too, a story of wife murder that could star Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. You know, if they were still alive.

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