Friday, May 22, 2009

The Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith (25)

The fifth book in the series and the second I have read, this is light, entertaining, funny, and enjoyable. I have a renewed interest after viewing recently on HBO. Set in Botswana, Precious Ramotswe is a lady detective always with new and challenging cases of a gentle sort. In this volume she helps a rich lady figure out which of 4 men she should marry, she arranges a suitable man for parachuting out of a plane, and she makes a committment with her fiance Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni. A fun book!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Monk Downstairs by Tim Farrington (24)

Rebecca is a single mother with a little girl, a carefree exhusband, a very spry mother, and a "sort of" boyfriend when she decides to rent out the downstairs of her house in order to help with the housepayments. The renter doesn't look very promising because he was a monk for 20 years, recently having left the monastery, and has a new job working at McDonald's. The story concerns Rebecca's search for happiness and balance in her life; it is well written and logical making for an enjoyable read.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (23)

This memorable book was sometimes painful to read; I almost gave up after the first 50 pages, but now I highly recommend it. An English village in the 1600's is struck by the plague. The main character, Anna, is a young mother who loses everyone including her two babies very early on. As the story progresses, the villagers around Anna react to the disease in different ways; superstitious behavior and self flagellation among them. Finally a majority of the village's inhabitants are gone; village life begins again with many missing. In spite of the painful topic, the book is well written, compelling, and thoughtful.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper (22)

After a terrible car crash, the author dies for 90 minutes and miraculously comes back to life. With a badly damaged body, he has months of surgeries, hospital stays, and pain but also has a memory of what happened when he died. It is an interesting book and I always read with a skeptical eye.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Along Came a Spider by James Patterson (21) 5-0809

I needed a book to read while on vacation so this was available and I read it. It's not the kind of book I ordinarily like to read, a murder mystery on the gruesome side. It was a popular book by a popular author so I guess many people do enjoy this genre. Alex Cross is a detective and psychologist investigating a serial murder. It is mildly entertaining and probably well written, but just not for me.

The Scent of Sake by Joyce Lebra 5-03-09 (20)

I really enjoyed this novel set in Japan. It is the mid to late 1800’s when Japan was undergoing many changes; the Shogun era was coming to an end and the country was uniting under one emperor. The main character of the story is Rie, a daughter born into the house of an important sake maker. It concerns her life and the tough decisions she must make plus her limitations because she is a woman. The author lived in Japan for several years so there are interesting insights into the Japanese culture. I highly recommend this book.

47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers by Troy Cook 4-30-09 (19)

This mystery was somewhat disappointing. It seemed to be trying to be amusing and sympathetic to the villains of the story. Tara is a young beautiful female bank robber who has been raised by her unscrupulous bank robber father, trained in crime from an early age. She meets Max, a handsome son of a sheriff, who has been in lots of trouble himself but always bailed out by his father. What follows are lots of criminal acts by many of the characters. This book gets 2 stars out of 5 in my estimation.

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx 4-24-09 (18)

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx 4-24-09
Reading this book is like a visit to a small fishing community in Newfoundland populated by interesting and memorable character, each flawed and working through life’s struggles. Quoyle is a man with memories of an abusive childhood, trapped in a marriage to a woman he loves hopelessly but who tramples on his love. Events lead to Quoyle moving to the seaside village with two small children and an aunt, a job in the village newspaper, a friendship for an odd set of characters, and the possibility of a new relationship with a woman in the community.
The language in this book is especially beautiful and poetic with unforgettable characters and this award winning book is highly recommended.