This week the Desketeers are proving to be a group which one should keep an eye on. They are dabbling in some rather sketchy reads. This week we have some Killing Fields, historic misbehavior, the IRA, a bullet in the head, a quest for health, and lots of cake which is only fitting since we are a department of mostly Geminis and this is our time!

Let us begin!

Barbara M has left Armenia and is reading In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner. “In the form of a novel and with poetic language Ratner describes what life was like for her and her family in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. It's a beautifully written book and the story is mesmerizing.” We worry about Barbara. Have you noticed the themes of genocide and ethnic cleansing?

Citizen Asha is another one we need to be concerned about. “I’m listening to A Treasury of Great American Scandals: Tantalizing True Tales of Historic Misbehavior by the Founding Fathers and Others Who Let Freedom Swing by Michael Farquhar. I had no idea there was so much angst, sex, fights and just plain sketchiness floating around the Founding Fathers and Presidents. I had no idea that Benjamin Franklin disowned his son, and even had him arrested. There are samplings of Richard Nixon’s tapes from the Oval Office, as well George Washington’s strange relationship with his mother.”

While Sweet Ann is someone we rarely have to worry about that is not the case this week. “I am reading An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi. This is story that takes place over the course of a couple of days that is impacted by past actions. Clare Moorehouse, an American, is married to Edward, a British citizen who is a diplomat in Paris. They are planning a dinner party that will hopefully lead to Edward getting the ambassadorship to Ireland. The only problem is that when Clare was younger she got involved with the IRA. As a reader you are kept guessing to see how this secret will be resolved. She is also the mother of two boys and the younger one has been suspended from school for a quite serious reason. She does not want to tell her husband prior to this important dinner. Oh how we mothers try to make everything all right. I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.”

Marianne divulges what her escapist reading is. No surprise that it contains a corpse. “Whenever I need a break from my "must do" reading I pretty much always turn to a good mystery. The Ian Rutledge detective series written by the mother-son team, Charles Todd, offers a real change of pace. Ian Rutledge is a Scotland Yard Inspector who is trying to set his life straight after suffering severe battle fatigue from his time fighting on the French front during World War I. The Confession is one of the newer entries and begins when a man, dying of cancer, confesses to a murder he says he committed some time ago. When that man himself turns up murdered the wheels are set in motion for Inspector Rutledge to unravel a complicated mystery. With very few clues available Rutledge follows a thin trail to a tightlipped remote community outside of London, The Inspector discovers that the dead man was not who he claimed to be. What was his real name—and who put a bullet in his head? Were the “confession” and his own death related? Or was there something else in the victim’s past that led to his murder? I particularly like these books because I find the author makes sure the setting and time are as engaging as the mystery. “

Pat S. is working on Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A. J. Jacobs. “In a years-long pursuit of mental acuity (The Know It All), spiritual enlightenment (The Year of Living Biblically), our favorite experiential journalist has now set his sights on becoming the healthiest man in the world. This multi-faceted challenge involves certified medical expertise, exploration of the labyrinth of current trends in diet and exercise, and the purchase and testing of a broad array of equipment-all promising optimum health results in areas beginning with weight and extending to vision. Jacobs tells his tale with equal parts humor and chagrin  at the myriad conflicting theories on what constitutes 'good' health. This is a fun read and a perfect primer for anyone who wants to jumpstart their summer with a new diet/fitness regime!”

Pat T. is staying true to her sweet self. “Anna Quindlen's newest book Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is a memoir of reflective essays about looking back, as well as forward as she celebrates 60 years of life. She writes with humor and candor about her strong marriage, the joys of parenting three young adults as they find their way in the world, bonds of friendships that sustain and strengthen her daily life and the anticipation of aging and what that all means. I think her poignant reflections will resonate with many of us baby boomers!”


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