Thanks a whole bunch for all the cool hotel suggestions, folks, I think we've now got something lined up. But you were all extremely helpful!
Let's go on into...
Books I'm reading…
Beyond Defensive Tactics: Advanced Concepts, Techniques, and Tricks for Cops on the Street, by Loren Christensen. Judging by his remarks, I'm guessing Mr. Christensen and I would not make ideal dining companions. Like many cops I've met, his experiences in the line of duty have not enhanced his overall view of humanity. Small wonder - cops do a job not many of us would want to do, and they certainly deal with people I would not wish to deal with. But then this book is published by Paladin Press, which is - how shall one say? - a rather specialized publishing house. Don't expect anything warm and fuzzy out of Paladin Press.
As the title states, this book is written for cops. But some of his philosophy about mental readiness and suggestions about types of physical self-defense are very applicable to regular citizens as well. It's sprinkled with some of Mr. Christensen's personal-experience stories, which make it read easily. This book reminds me of my as-yet-unrealized desire to take up some form of martial arts.
The Shifting Tide, by Anne Perry. I'm hooked on both of Perry's historical detective lines.
The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology, by Simon Winchester. This is the story of William Smith, the orphaned son of an English country blacksmith, who created the world's first geological map and ultimately became the father of modern geology. This author has a knack for making you feel like you know the people he's writing about, which means everything he writes is interesting.
The Burglar on the Prowl, by Lawrence Block. More light fiction. I've faithfully followed this series from Mr. Block for years. Frankly, it's not what it used to be – the earlier "Burglar" books were much better in terms of plotting and believability. But I continue to buy them just because the main characters have become friends of mine, and also because, as a writer, I want to study the style. I like Mr. Block's touch with dialogue, and he's a real smoothie with those expository transitions – something I find particularly troublesome when I write.