Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Wildwater Walking Club by Claire Cook (66)

Not a compelling read for me. Noreen is a middle aged women at a turning point in her life. She has been made redundant at her job, lost her most important relationship, and is at loose ends, not knowing what to do next. She makes friends with a couple of neighbor women and they begin walking in the early morning on a regular basis. They have various adventures together and in the end, her life choices are sorted out. I have read better books but also I've read worse!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti (65)

I loved this book. Set in Sweden, the main characters are Benny, a busy and unschooled farmer; and Shrimp, an intellectual librarian, both lonely and in their 30's. Benny would like a wife who can help with the cows and sheep, clean the house, cook, and do all the chores of a farm wife. Shrimp's ideal partner would enjoy the opera, enjoy discussing books and politics, and taking in the pleasures of town life. In spite of their differences, these two opposite characters are somehow fatally attracted to each other, highly motivated to weave their lives together. Alternating chapters are given in the perspective of the two voices. This is the best fiction I've read recently.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Official Book Club Selection by Kathy Griffin (64)

Loved it! So funny and irreverent. Kathy Griffin is fearless in what she says; she regularly gets into trouble in her act. This book is her life story, much of which is true, some is a play on her humor. Actually she had family problems growing up with a very difficult and troubled brother. Kathy is totally career driven and that accounts for her success today. I do love her show on Bravo. I realize that she is not politically correct; she courageously says the things many people are thinking, risking getting into trouble while doing it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hothouse Orchid by Stuart Woods (63)

Stuart Woods is a good mystery writer but his very best book was his first, named Chiefs, I believe. Now his books have become somewhat written to formula, lacking the depth of that first book. However, he is always entertaining.
Hothouse Orchid is focused on Holly Barker, working with the CIA, who returns to her hometown and gets caught up in the pursuit of a rapist-murderer. Along the way she comes into contact with an old enemy, gets a new boyfriend, and participates in police action in the local community. As a typical Stuart Woods mystery, the culprit is the last person you would imagine to do the crime and a lot of suspenseful action takes place. There are a few gruesome scenes. Enjoyable, quick, not compelling.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Last Beach Bungalow by Jennie Nash (62)

April Newton is a 5 year breast cancer survivor with a loving husband and a teenage daughter. Her husband is building her a wonderful new house that she has mixed feelings about. She hears of an old beach house being offered at way below its value to the person who most appeals to the elderly owner. April begins to have misgivings about her life as she starts to long for the old beach house.
This book moved a little slowly though it was well written and an interesting plot. I would recommend it with reservations; not totally compelling.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Runaway by Alice Munro (61)

Generally I don't read anthologies of short stories. I had heard good things about this author so I decided to read one of her books. Runaway contains 8 stories of women based on a theme: running away from something. The characters in the stories are very well developed; they feel like people I could possibly have met. The problem with most short stories is that it takes some time to get engrossed in each story but that was not a problem with this book. I will be looking for more books by the same author.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (60)

Julia and Valentina are 21 year old twins who inherit a flat in London from an aunt they don't remember meeting. Arriving in London, the twins meet characters in the building, encounters with their aunt who haunts the flat, and other interesting incidents. This book is by the author of "The Time Traveler's Wife" which I loved. This book is fairly odd in its twists and turns. I enjoyed it but it's a little too odd for my taste.