Before I get to the good stuff (note picture at right), I have a few blog issues to mention. Since Typepad upgraded and 'improved' their service I've been encountering some problems, and I know readers here have been dealing with them as well. The most obvious is the time it takes for a comment to 'publish'. I noticed over the weekend that it is extremely sluggish and I thought this was due to a slow internet connection on my end. I think, however, the problem is more a Typepad issue as it's hard to tell if a comment is actually saved when in reality it ends up appearing several times. I apologize for this. If your comment does show up several times I can easily delete the extras on my end, so no worries. And if you are trying to comment, but you cannot, please let me know and I can send an email to Typepad.
The next issue is a particularly irksome one on my end. I am getting absolutely walloped by spammers lately. I'm not sure if this is due to the Typepad improvements or not. I didn't seem to have this problem on this level before. Every time I check the spam filter in the comments section there are dozens of them. Thankfully they do get caught and one flick of the wrist makes them disappear forever, but they just keep coming back. I sincerely believe there is an extra special place in Dante's hell for spammers. Especially hot and painful. They seem to latch on to a few posts and hit them over and over again, so I may just have to close off comments and hope that stops them for a while. I hate to do that as I like legitimate comments and also it is just more fussy work that I don't want to do. I may also have to turn on some kind of verification system, but I hate doing that as well and making more work for readers, too. The thing is I know spammers just send their trash out in bulk, probably hijacking perfectly fine IP addresses. So I'll have to ponder this one and see what I can do to try and alleviate the problem.
On to the good news now. The folks at Henry Holt very kindly sent me an ARE of Jacqueline Winspear's newest Maisie Dobbs' mystery, Among the Mad. It is due out in February, so I am very fortunate to get a copy early. I can't decide whether to jump in now and start reading or let the anticipation build a little bit and wait until my vacation officially begins on Friday night (I've decided to take Monday and Tuesday off from work and extend my break by a couple of days) when I can devote uninterrupted time on it. This instalment begins on Christmas Eve 1931, so it seems fitting to be reading it now, even though it does involve a "madman" ready to commit unspeakable horrors. Have I mentioned that Maisie's my favorite sleuth? Oh, yeah, I suppose I have.
Since I'm on the subject of forthcoming books, I'll share a couple I came across that I've added to my library list. John Harwood's The Seance is going to the top of my wishlist. It's described as "Spirits, possession, and murder in Victorian England in and atmospheric novel for fans of Wilkie Collins." It sounds right up my alley. I read his earlier novel, The Ghostwriter, which I recall being a nice creepy, atmospheric read, so I am really looking forwardto his new one. I've read one book by Adriana Trigiani (Lucia, Lucia, which was a fun, frilly sort of read), and while she is not traditionally what I would read, her new one appeals to me in the same way Lucia, Lucia did. Very Valentine is set about an Italian-American family living in Manhattan, and it sounds like it would be just the thing to read in those last deep, dark days of January! January is a rough month, so it will be good to have something to look forward to.