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Book Archive | My
- (4/30)Some Things That Stay by Sarah Willis.
- Excellent novel about the Anderson family's latest move. Mr.
Anderson, a landscape painter, has his family move every year so he has
new scenes to paint. After the latest move, into a little farmhouse on
the outskirts of a small town in Western New York, 16-year old Tamara
(pronounced "like tomorrow with an a") swears she will never move again.
But when he mother is sent to a sanatorium because of a particularly
strong case of TB, Tamara has to stop being a headstrong child and
suddenly become a mother to her younger brother and sister. The stress
the family goes through as a result ties them together just as they are
beginning to fall apart. This is a truly beautiful novel. I loved
- (4/25)Under the Beetle's Cellar by Mary Willis Walker.
- Mesmerizing thriller about a crazy cult leader and his
followers who kidnap a bus driver and 11 of his young passengers (all
under the age of 11) and bury them underground in a school bus for 50
days. The story has two settings -- the outside world, featuring a
reporter who is trying to find out as much as possible about the cult
leader's past so she can figure out a way to convince him to let the
children go -- and the world inside the bus, where the bus driver, a
Vietnam vet with no experience with children, overcomes his own fear to
try to keep the kids calm and safe. He starts telling them a story in
installments, one chapter a day, and also begins working on a way to
barricade themselves in the bus in preparation for the day he knows is
coming, the day the cult leader will try to sacrifice them all. Something
about these kids and that bus driver's story (about a turkey vulture named
Jacksonville) really drew me in. This is probably the first time a stock
thriller has ever reduced me to tears by the end (of course, I did have a
fever of 102 at the time). Highly recommended!
- (4/23)Hugger Mugger by Robert B. Parker.
- Latest Spenser novel (yay! yay!). Everything I thought it would be
except EVEN BETTER. The plot centers on a family who owns a bunch of
racing horses that are being shot one by one. When someone makes an
attempt on their star racer, Hugger Mugger, they call in Spenser to
investigate. Spenser novels are intelligent, funny, and always perfectly
crafted. They always make me laugh out loud and I've been totally
head-over-heels in love with Spense ever since I started reading the
series, about 10 years ago. NOTHING makes me happier than a new Spenser
novel and if that's not the best recommendation ever, I dunno what is.
- (4/20)Breaking News by Robert MacNeil.
- Novel by MacNeil of the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour about,
surprise surprise, television news broadcasting! It's actually a very
funny novel about a famous news anchor who is approaching retirement age
and feels like he's getting pushed out by the young'uns around him. At
the same time, there is an insider somewhere in the newsworld posing as a
transvestite in an internet chatroom and gossiping about all the trashy
stuff going on behind-the-scenes. Very well-written and a lot of fun.
- (4/18)Blind Instinct by Robert W. Walker.
- My first Walker mystery also happens to be his latest -- this
is the most recent installment of a series I've heard referred to as the
"instinct" series (I think they all have that word in the title). The
protagonist is a female medical examiner (yay!) named Jessica Coran and
the series has been compared to Patricia Cornwell's (which is why I wanted
to check it out). I have to say, though, PC's Scarpetta books have been
going rapidly downhill -- the last one was very poorly written and weak
plotted. I enjoyed this mystery a lot more than I enjoyed the last PC
mystery (though she's got another one coming out soon and I'll give that
one a chance before deciding if she's worth my time anymore). In "Blind
Instinct" Dr. Coran travels to England to consult on a series of murders
by crucifixion. While there, she gets romantically involved with one of
the local cops on the case, and a bit infatuation with an elderly priest
who specializes in philosophy about the nature of evil. I really liked
the characters and the plot was interesting, though maybe a bit slow in
places (and just a teeny bit predictable). Overall, quite enjoyable. I
have one more in the series out from the library right now and will
probably read it this month, so check back if you're interested!
- (4/15)Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout.
- Wonderful novel about a mother and her daughter struggling
with their emotions for each other and the men they think they love. The
mother (Isabelle), a mill worker, is infatuated with her married boss, who
has begun to snub her. Her 16-year-old daughter (Amy) has fallen in love
with her math teacher, who uses and then ditches her. As they try to
figure out how to process their respective broken hearts, they begin to
pull away from each other as well. But can mothers and daughters ever
truly break that line that connects them? Very moving and compassionate
novel, with amazing characters (who provide a great deal of comic relief)
and profound wisdom. Highly recommended!
- (4/11)Cold Comfort by Scott Mackay.
- Mystery about the murder of the daughter of a prominent
government official. Interesting twists, but kind of slow in places.
- (4/9)Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet out of Idaho by
- Katz, a known on-line writer focusing heavily on the "geek"
movement, turned his original Rolling Stones article on two geeks from
Idaho who summon up the guts to move to Chicago (with $10 to spare) into
this full-length book. The two kids are amazing -- brilliant, talented,
and extremely misunderstood. Katz captures quite well the suffering geeks
go through in high school -- the teasing, isolation, and disdain they are
subjected to from both kids and adults who are intimidated by their
knowledge. A fascinating look at a growing subculture most people don't
understand (think about the headlines about computer games after
Columbine). I was really impressed by the stronger-willed of the two
boys, Jesse. This is a kid we will be hearing about in the future.
- (4/2)True North by Kimberly Kafka.
- Bailey, a strong-willed white woman living among native Alaskans,
isn't used to having to care for anyone but herself. When Kash, a local
Native American trying to encourage tourism in the area, asks her to fly
down and pick up a young couple planning on camping in the area, Bailey is
a little annoyed with how needy and unprepared they turn out to be.
Little does she know, they aren't planning to just camp and instead have
gone north to do something to the land they swore they would not do.
However, they get mixed up with some very dangerous locals and Bailey soon
has to decide whether to help them or stay out of it. Very engaging.
Loved the setting.