This week we have some murder, insidiousness, more than a little Singapore but oddly no Paris (I am more than a little worried about that), two detectives on two contents, a phenom, more murder, (must be all this rain!), juicy tidbits, a couch and an exploding whale.
Let us begin!
Babs B. is a tad cranky this week about Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton. “ I had a real tough time with this story...I'm not crazy about "out of body" experiences and forced myself to finish this book just to see who was responsible for setting the school on fire and attempting to murder someone not once but 3 times!! I would not recommend this one.”
Citizen Asha has more daisies and sunshine for us this week. “ I am currently reading What They Do in the Dark by Amanda Coe. Gemma, spoiled but neglected by her parents, and Pauline who is impoverished form a friendship. Pauline is envious of Gemma’s easy life while Gemma has to deal with the aftermath of her parents’ divorce. When Gemma’s favorite star Lallie comes to town to shoot a movie, the girls are ecstatic, however I have a feeling that something insidious is afoot. I’ll keep you posted. “
Barbara M. reports in with the following: “I'm still reading Girl Reading : A Novel by Katie Ward. I was about to abandon it after the first story because I wasn’t sure I understood the ending. I decided to give it another try and am now up to the sixth story. The stories are all a bit strange but very compelling. I'm not sure I understand how the stories fit into one another but I've read it this far and so will continue until the end. I'm also reading Fodor's Singapore, Lonely Planet Singapore and The Rough Guide to Singapore in preparation for my trip. I like to know the background of a country and the layout of the land before I go. “
Abby comes to us with a tribe this week and says, “The trio of me, my husband, and mother-in-law must all recommend the newest entry in the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series. In The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection, Alexander McCall-Smith has managed to once again produced a book filled with the warmth and good humor found in previous books from the series. On the more gruesome side, I am reading the true crime book Midnight in Peking by Paul French. The time: 1937 Peking, China. Japan is attempting to take over China. China is also dealing with a major influx of immigrants from the Soviet Union and Europe. With this as a backdrop, a nineteen year old English woman, the daughter of a prominent and connected scholar is brutally murdered. French is doing a tremendous job of setting the mood and explaining the physical layout of Peking. His website also provides good background and visuals to accompany the story. I look forward to finding out how and if the murder was solved.”
Marianne says,” I just finished The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach and I loved it. One of the people who attended our discussion the other night said ‘It was an all-inclusive book and everyone was treated fairly.’ Maybe the main story line, young baseball phenom surely headed for the major leagues loses his ability to throw straight, isn't totally new. But the way the author developed the characters and interweaved the other story lines of college life, coming of age, and old age made for a wonderful read.”
Pat S. brings the following to the table. The autopsy table perhaps! “The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomis is about two young women on the verge of adulthood are involved in the brutal murder of a shared boyfriend. While only one of the girls goes to prison, they are both excoriated in the press as the victim is exalted to sainthood. The story is the gradual unraveling of the facts to the truth of what actually happened-and the truth is haunting. While the writing is only competent, as a psychological thriller it is at the top of the genre.”
Pat T. says “ I am about to begin reading The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan. Harvard University publishes a book titled "The Red Book" every five years with the latest updates on its alumni. In this fictional story, we meet four friends, Clover, Addison, Mia and Jane who graduated from Harvard in 1989 and are joining one another at their twenty year college reunion. What will these friends reveal about their lives, aspirations and disappointments, families and careers since leaving the Ivy Leagued campus as young adults? I hope to enjoy all the juicy tidbits!”
Jeannie who is in the throes of exams brings us this: I finished Sense of an Ending this week by Julian Barnes. Not a new story, coming of age - badly - in England with boy and girl issues. Moving through the years fairly peaceably, but then Tony, the protagonist, gets a letter from a solicitor about a surprise legacy and he realizes there are a lot more questions in his life than he has answers to. Barnes has an interesting way of moving the mystery along with Tony's compelling introspection, although he is so obsessed he can't seem to get up off the figurative analyst's couch long enough to get on with his life. While short on pages (only 163) it is a good read.
I am having great fun with Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead. What more can possibly be done with a Nantucket (though called something else, but trust me on this one, it’s Nantucket) WASP Wedding at the height of the season? In Shipstead’s hands? Plenty! For starters the bride is more than a little pregnant, her sister has been jilted by the son of her father’s oldest rival, and their aunt is looking for husband number 5 and a little something to sip on while she does. There is an exploding whale, a lobster that seems to have some Rasputin –like qualities and the requisite bad behavior by the wedding party. This is brilliant social satire that would be the perfect book for that trip from Wood’s Hole and it is due out in July.