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- (10/30)High Citadel by Desmond Bagley.
- Really enjoyable novel from the 60's or so about a group of
people in a small commuter airplane that goes down in the mountains of a
war-torn country in South America. Onboard was the ousted president of
the country, and it eventually turns out that the crash was caused by the
communists who tossed him out and didn't want him to come back. The
commies (ah, the 60's) are just below the group of survivors and are
on their way up the hills to come attach them. Our heroes must
figure out a way to kill the bad guys off, or they know they'll end up
themselves. What they do is pretty entertaining and pretty much wholly
unbelieveable. But hey, that's what makes it fun! Bagley is one of my
favorite adventure/spy writers -- you can't go wrong with any of his
books. This one, however, is out of print. I'm pretty sure my mom has
the last copy on the planet.
- (10/27)The Red Devil: To Hell with Cancer -- and Back by
Katherine Russell Rich.
- Memoir of Rich's incredible fight against breast (and then
bone) cancer. While it scared the patooties off of me (doctors told her
the robin's-egg-sized lump she found at age 32 had been growing for at
least seven years -- which means it started when she was my age), it also
both educated and inspired me. Rich is an amazing woman, gutsy and
strong, and I finished the book both saddened by what she has to
go through and happy that I got to know her, at least in this small way.
It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Rich lived on forever. It's
pretty amazing the cancer had the nerve to take her on in the first
place. Kick some carcinomic butt, girl!
- (10/26)Mr. White's Confession by Robert Clark.
- When the body of a beautiful showgirl is found on a hillside,
police lieutenant Wesley Horner immediately suspects Herbert White. White
is a strange man -- a huge, lumbering oaf with a memory so bad he keeps
scrapbooks and journals just so he can look up what happened last week.
Another dancer is killed, this time one that was a known acquaintance of
White's, and White is soon arrested. Ultimately, he confesses to the
crime, saying he didn't remember if he did it and he also didn't remember
if he DIDN'T. He's sent to prison, but Horner is left wondering if he
really was guilty of the crime. Set in Minnesota in 1939. Very good!
- (10/20)Expecting Adam by Martha Beck.
- Beautiful, inspiring, funny, crazy book about Beck's
experience carrying and then caring for her son Adam, a Down's Syndrome
baby. Not only is Beck so honest sometimes she made me want to cry, but
her story is just truly amazing. I don't know if I believe everything
thing she was saying she experienced while pregnant with Adam (lots of
really weird psychic-y stuff), but I do know that I really really want to.
I loved this book.
- (10/19)Family Honor by Robert B. Parker.
- Usually, if I really love a series written by an author, I
can't stand any of their other books or series. I'm not sure why that is,
but it might have something to do with being bitter that they have spent
time on something OTHER than the series that I so desperately love.
However, Parker's newest is almost the same exact creation as Parker's
oldest (Spenser). The protagonist is a PI in Boston who will work for
free if the case merits the generosity. The protagonist also has the
exact same sharp and witty personality as Spenser. The only real
difference is that this new PI is a woman. And she can't cook. At all.
Other than that, it's essentially a Spenser novel and man-oh-man does that
make me happy. Two series for the price of one! Yahoo! So, if you're a
Spenser fan, check it out. The plot is a LOT like one of the plots in an
old Spenser novel, but who the heck cares? It's great!
- (10/16)City of Light by Lauren Belfer.
- Complex and interesting novel about Buffalo, NY in 1901. The
protagonist, Louisa Barrett, is the headmistress of a prestigious school
for girls who is treated as an intellectual equal by the prominent men of
the city. When a mysterious death occurs at the power plant attached to
Niagara Falls, it triggers a sequence of events that forces Louisa to
return to a past she has tried to hide, and to question the integrity of
the men whom she has respected for so long. Fascinating look at the
history of Buffalo and the advent of hydro-electrical power.
- (10/13)The Defense by D. W. Buffa.
- Entertaining and fast-paced legal thriller about a lawyer who
agrees to defend an accused child rapist at the request of a close friend
(who also happens to be the judge in the case). He manages to get the
rapist acquitted, just as the judge thought he would. But
when, years later, the man is murdered, both the
lawyer and the judge get sucked into a mess of killings, stalkings, and
lies. Good courtroom drama, kind of predictable plot. Recommended if
you're in the mood for something quick and fun.
- (10/11)A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King.
- Third in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. This one is
about a mysterious ancient letter that suggests that Mary Magdalene was
actually one of Christ's disciples -- a religious bombshell that gets an
archaeologist murdered and sets Russell and Holmes on the trail of the
killers. Very entertaining, as usual!
- (10/9) The Magic Circle by Katherine Neville.
- When her cousin is slain by an unknown assassin, Ariel Behn
inherits a mysterious cache of manuscripts that thrusts her into the
deadly center of international
intrigue--and an age-old enigma that spans the
centuries. Whoever assembles and interprets the
cryptic clues of this ancient mystery will possess
the power to control the fate of the world. Whee! Okay, okay, let's get
serious: this novel
takes you all over the place physically and historically, but I think
ultimately it tries to cover too much ground. The
stuff about Ariel's family history is interesting, but Neville really
junks it up with a lot of extra stuff. I enjoyed this but found myself
alternating a lot between being really engrossed and feeling like I was
slogging through a lot of muck. A little more editting would've made a
huge difference. But not bad for a weekend read.
- (10/7) Main Street by Sinclair Lewis.
- Very enjoyable novel about a city girl who marries a country
doctor and moves to his tiny town, Gopher Prarie. When she gets there,
she decides what she ought to do is give the town a little culture.
However, though the towns' folk claim to be interested in and excited by
her ideas, they eventually reveal themselves to be firmly wedded to their
traditions and not the adoring fans of radical change she thought they
were. The novel is supposed to be a biting look at how stuffy small towns
are, but I was actually more irritated by the city girl than the country
bumpkins. She wanted everyone to hurry up and be just like her -- I
found myself hoping they'd stay just the way they were. It's probably a
- (10/4) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.
- Novel about an American family who move to the Congo in 1959
to be missionaries in a tiny village. Anyone who's read "At Play in the
Fields of the Lord" or "The Mosquito Coast" can predict what happens next.
But Kingsolver does such a good job at creating the characters involved
(each chapter is told through the voice of one of the four children) that
I really didn't mind how predictable the plot was (or how cutesy some of
the children's malapropisms were). Gotta say, though, the
end is a terrible violation of Virginia Woolf's (excellent) rule against
using a novel to unabashedly
mind about an issue -- the last quarter or so of the novel is dragged out
so that Kingsolver can drill home a point about American involvement in
the Congo and
while I know the point she makes is a valid one, she shouldn't have
it so heavily. The book needed to end with the family's last-minute
escape, not follow them all up through their 50's. Also, the last chapter
violated MEG'S rule against heavy-handed cheesiness. Still, Kingsolver is
a great writer and I enjoyed this book. If you haven't read "At Play in
the Fields of the Lord" and you liked Kingsolver's take on missionary
life in foreign countries,
check it out. There's also a great movie version of it starring Kathy
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