PaperBackSwap Blog

Archive for July, 2012

Rest In Peace Maeve Binchy

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

(May, 28 1940 – July, 30 2012)


My mother hoped I would meet a nice doctor or barrister or accountant who would marry me and take me to live in what is now called Fashionable Dublin Four. But she felt that this was a vain hope. I was a bit loud to make a nice professional wife, and anyway, I was too keen on spending my holidays in far flung places to meet any of these people. The future leaders of society did not holiday on the decks of cheap boats, or work in kibbutzim in Israel or mind children as camp counsellors in the United States. She abandoned this hope on my behalf and got great value out of my escapades in foreign parts. I wrote marvellous long rambling letters home from these trips, editing out the bits they didn’t need to know, bits about falling in love with highly unsuitable foreigners. In fact my parents were so impressed with these eager letters from abroad they got them typed and sent them to a newspaper and that’s how I became a writer.

 – From Maeve Binchy’s Website,  www.maevebinchy.com


Would any of us know as much as we do about Ireland if it weren’t for this amazing author? Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle was published in 1982 and became a best seller.  It was rejected five times by publishers. She went on to publish many more books and short stories and sold 40 million books worldwide.








Due for release in October 2012




Happy Mutt Day!

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

by Michelle H. (mishnpow)




Often when I am out with my dog, people will stop us to ask what kind of dog she is.  The easy answer is she that she is a mutt.

At this point in the conversation, Dixie’s new friend starts throwing out different breeds; Lab, Greyhound, Weimaraner, Chow, Terrier, and even Pitt Bull.

She has a blue tongue; webbed feet (but no double coat); a lethal tail that some, who’ve been hit by it, argue maybe should have been docked at birth; and she has funky ears that look like they could be from different breeds just when she changes expression.

I have no idea exactly what she is, and haven’t ruled out the possibility of one day doing a DNA test. But I do know her. I know that every person is her new friend, she is great with little kids, and she loves to eat carrots.

I know that she is an excellent catcher and she hates the wind, skateboards, and when people argue. She is a great listener and, if I cry, she is right there.

After knowing all that about Dixie (and much more), I don’t really care how much Lab or Weimaraner she is. I guess there is a lesson to be learned here, one that can translate into human language as well; maybe it’s not what we are, but who we are.









Dizzy the Mutt with the Propeller Butt by Ian Punnett


Rocky & Gawenda: The Story of a Man & His Mutt by Michael Gawenda


The Mutt: A Novel by Macklin Finley


They Call Me Dixie by Captain Richard L. (“Dixie”) Alexander


Don’t Make Me Choose Between You and My Shoes by Dixie Cash

Happy Cheesecake Day! (Part 2)

Monday, July 30th, 2012

I’m Feeling Like a Golden Girl….Happy Cheesecake Day!


By Mirah W. (mwelday)


Those who know me well can attest to the truth of the following: I love The Golden Girls.  I swear it’s one of the best television shows ever made. Every year while I decorate my home for Christmas I watch a marathon of The Golden Girls. I don’t know where my idea for that tradition came from but I’ve been doing it for years and I love it.  I have all of the seasons on DVD and consider the collection a prized possession.  When my husband and I move, which we do often, those DVDs are carefully divided: some stay with me to be packed by the movers and some are sent ahead to be waiting for me at our new location. It never hurts to have Dorothy, Sophia, Rose and Blanche at my fingertips; bad days have been known to make a change for the better because of a good GG laugh.

I can’t count how many times I’ve sung along to ‘Miami, You’ve Got Style’, laughed at the Sonny and Cher costume moment, shed tears over the finale and watched the girls eat cheesecake at the kitchen table.  Ah, the cheesecake.  I wonder how many cheesecakes they went through during those seven seasons?  I read once that Dorothy, portrayed by the incomparable Bea Arthur, didn’t even like cheesecake.  Bummer for her.  But hoorah for the fans who came to love those cheesecake scenes.

For Cheesecake Day I decided to read Rue McClanahan’s My First Five Husbands…And the Ones Who Got Away.  Just in case you’ve been living under a rock with no tv reception, Rue McClanahan was the Emmy-winning actress who portrayed Southern belle Blanche Devereaux in The Golden Girls, which ran from 1985-1992 and reruns are still shown daily on various networks around the world. Sadly, Rue passed away in 2010, just three years after she published her autobiography.

I knew from the start I would like this book. What’s not to love about a book with an acknowledgment that mentions Saint Dymphna, the Patroness of Insanity, and scalawags?  I mean, that’s some good, funny stuff.  But it wasn’t all funny.  Rue went through some serious heartbreaks and disappointments.  The constant moving, separations from her son, deaths of those she loved and failed  relationships all caused her pain.  But she maintained hope things would improve and because of hope and perseverance, she had a career that spanned decades including dancing, theater, television and movies.  In her book, Rue gave readers several pearls of wisdom: don’t put too much stock in omens (or in Rue’s words: ‘omens don’t mean bloody squat’), always take time to think about decisions, and never lose hope.  Not afraid to admit when she made a bad choice, Rue didn’t flinch from telling the truth in this book.

In one of my favorite chapters,  she shared a secret about the ‘Men of Blanche’s Boudoir’ calendar which was featured in one of the Christmas episodes of The Golden Girls.  I don’t want to spoil the surprise for those of you planning to read the book so  I’ll just say there were some prankster prop guys and whips involved. I think the calendar episode is one of the most hilarious and memorable of the series. Rue must have thought so, too, because she kept a copy of the calendar after the show ended.  Just knowing this makes me smile.

Rue was respectful and honest when she wrote about her relationships with the other actresses on The Golden Girls.  Even though she confirmed there was some tension at times and they weren’t all the best of  friends, she acknowledged they still cared for one another. I think part of the magic of the show would have dulled a bit if I found out they didn’t actually like each other.

Having read Rue’s book and learned about her experiences, I think she’d agree with me that in spite of difficult times, life is sweet.  Which leads me to a realization: life and cheesecake have a lot in common.








National Cheese Cake Day! (Part 1)

Monday, July 30th, 2012

National Cheese Cake Day! 


By Jerelyn H. (I-F-Letty)


Oh yes now here is an obscure observance I can get behind!  Anyone who knows me knows I would rather eat cheese cake that breath.  I have no idea who invented cheese cake but they should be a canonized a Saint!

So let’s see what I have found out about what is affectionately called CHEESE CRACK in my house.   The historical evidence shows that 4000 years ago the ancient Greeks served it to its Olympic athletes at the first games in 776 BC, and it also says that brides and grooms were served it at the wedding feasts.    The writer Athenaeus is credited for writing the first Greek cheesecake recipe in 230 A.D. this is the oldest known surviving Greek recipe! It was also very simple, pound the cheese until it is smooth and pasty,  mix the pounded cheese in a brass pan with honey and spring wheat flour – heat the cheese cake “in one mass” – allow to cool then serve.  Simple

Of course the Romans conquered Greece and with all things the Romans acquired they kept the things that were useful and put aside those that were not. Luckily cheesecake made the cut. (sorry I couldn’t resist.) They modified it of course to including crushed cheese and eggs. These ingredients were baked under a hot brick and it was served warm. The Romans called their cheese cake “libuma” and they served it on special occasions. Marcus Cato, a Roman politician in the first century B.C., is credited as recording the oldest known Roman cheesecake recipe.  As the empire expanded, the cheesecake went along for the ride, to Europe, and Great Britain each culture began experimenting with ways to put their own unique stamp on the cheesecake, using ingredients native to each region. In 1545, the first cookbook was printed. It described the cheesecake as a flour-based sweet food.  In 18th century cheesecake started to look like the cheesecake Americans would recognize. Around this time, Europeans began to use beaten eggs instead of yeast to make their breads and cakes rise. Removing the yeast flavor made cheesecake taste more like a dessert. With immigration to America, cheesecake was on the road again.

Cream Cheese the great American food accident, (well one of them.)  In 1872, a New York dairy farmer attempted to make a French cheese called Neufchatel. Instead, he accidentally discovered a process which resulted in the creation of cream cheese. As the say the rest is history, three years later, cream cheese was packaged in foil and distributed to local stores under the Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand. In 1928 Kraft acquired the brand.

Well now we come down to it, New Yorkers own the cheese cake they claim it as their own and everyone else’s is just a weak imitation. I am not going to get into this, I love them all equally.  But I am a purest, I want the cake only the cake I don’t want chocolate, or raspberries or caramel or cookies and cream don’t come near me with white chocolate cheesecake or you might get hurt. I don’t want short-bread crust if I want a crust at all it has to be graham cracker, if I want a topping it must be strawberry, not that I have anything against raspberry, I just don’t like raspberry anything.  So if you come to my house for my birthday you will get cheesecake, toppings on the side.


Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, MD


Strawberries and Blackberry Cheesecake by Leandus Poe


The Cheesecake Bible by George Geary


Olivia’s Cheesecake Chronicles by Olivia De Berardinis


For Love and Cheesecake by Misty Simon


Cherry Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke





Free Book Friday on Saturday Winner!

Sunday, July 29th, 2012



The Winner of Love Letters from Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball



Lisa S. (lisasilv)



Lisa, your new book will be to you soon! Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who commented! Stay tuned for more contests!

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

Each sale helps support the operating costs of the PaperBackSwap club.






Free Book Friday on Saturday!

Saturday, July 28th, 2012


Today’s book is:



Love Letters from Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball

ISBN 9780425237175

We will choose one winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 12 noon EDT,  to leave a comment.

Good Luck to everyone!


Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

Each sale helps support the operating costs of the PaperBackSwap club.

Author Interview with Rosemary Harris

Friday, July 27th, 2012











An Interview with Author Rosemary Harris by Diane G. (icesk8tr)



Diane: Thank you for allowing us to interview you for the PaperBackSwap Blog! I really enjoyed reading Slugfest, it was one of those books that was cleverly written and fun to read!

Rosemary: Thanks and I am glad you enjoyed the book.


Diane: How long have you been writing?

Rosemary: Wow…I guess it’s close to eight years now. My first book came out in 2008.


Diane: Slugfest is the 4th book in the Dirty Business mystery series, for those new to your series can you tell us a little about it?

Rosemary: It’s a traditional mystery series featuring an amateur sleuth named Paula Holliday, who happens to be a gardener.


Diane: How would you describe Slugfest to someone who has not read any of your previous novels? 

Rosemary: The book is set in the chaotic, neurotic and in this case, homicidal world of trade shows, Slugfest is a funny, behind the scenes look at some of the less than genteel characters at a legendary flower show.


Diane: Where did you get the idea for Slugfest?

Rosemary: I’ve been a volunteer at the Philadelphia Flower Show for over a decade and although I – happily – haven’t witnessed any murders, I have seen some pretty strange behavior and I thought it was a perfect setting for a mystery.


Diane: Why did you start writing gardening mysteries? I understand you have an interest in gardening yourself, did this play a part in that decision?

Rosemary: A body was found not far from my home in Connecticut and when I did some research I thought it would make a good story. It was natural for me to have my heroine be a gardener since: 1) it’s helpful if your amateur sleuth has a job that throws her into contact with lots of different types of people and 2) when you garden in the northeast you can really only do it six months out of the year – so she has plenty of free time to solve crimes.


Diane: What is a typical writing day like for you and what are your writing habits?

Rosemary: I have no typical days. Ever. All I can say is that I write with a pencil on a yellow legal pad (and I’ve done it everywhere from a tent in Yosemite to a ferry out of Dar es Salaam.) Eventually I enter it all on the computer and rewrite for as long as they let me.


Diane: What projects are occupying you at the moment?

Rosemary: My husband and I – with the help of many generous friends have built a library in Tanzania and we go there every year or so to visit. I’ve cleared another 1/4 acre of woods on my property so I’m slowly building the new garden which is anchored by shade-loving, flowering shrubs.


Diane: Are you working on another novel?

Rosemary: I have a work in progress that I hope to have finished this summer. It’s not a Paula Holliday book and may not even be a mystery…


Diane: How has your work or life experience affected your writing? Is there an incident that has changed your life and influenced your writing?

Rosemary: Of course one’s work and experience influences everything. I tend to put a lot of humor in my writing – but I see the humor in a lot of things. I sometimes think if I’d never seen that tiny article about the body that was found I’d never have done any of this. That’s what I get for reading the New York Times!


Diane: You recently self published Slugfest as a paperback yourself. What did you learn in the process? Will you self-publish more books?

Rosemary: Ask me in a few months! Seriously…I thought that since the first three books in the series had been released in paperback the fourth one should be too. It was ridiculously easy to do – and maybe the emphasis should be on the word ridiculous. Despite strong reviews for Slugfest, without a retail presence it’s very difficult to grow awareness for a book that isn’t soft-core porn, written by an established bestseller ala Stephen King – or free.


Diane: Thanks again for your time. I enjoyed Slugfest and also have picked up some of your earlier books and am enjoying them as well.



If you would like to learn more about the Chalula Library Project – a community library in Mvumi, Tanzania you can visit http://rosemaryharris.com/clp.html