This week we have some Chanel (lucky us!), opiates, vampires, a plague, disintegration, an art mystery, a baby mystery and a most unlikely of Cougars.

Let us begin!

Barbara M. is in Paris again and is reading The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World's Most Famous Perfume by Tilar J. Mazzeo. “This is really a biography of the perfume; how it was conceived; how it was or wasn’t marketed; how it’s evolved and why it has lasted for so long. It’s fascinating. “


Abby is no surprise here delving into a Swedish mystery! What is surprising is her take on it. “I had been walking around with a copy of Strindberg's Star by Jan Wallentin just waiting for it to be the right time to dig in. At last the time came. Swedish thriller/mystery, some occult thrown in, conspiracies - sounded like a great summer read to me. It begins with the discovery of a perfectly preserved body in a mine shaft that leads to a psychiatrist/historian who totes around a shoulder bag so stuffed with tranquilizers and opiates he could sedate a medium sized village. About 20% in, I had to put it down never again to be touched. On a so far more positive note I'm listening to The Passage by Justin Cronin. This book was a big hit and there is a lot of buzz for the upcoming sequel, The Twelve. I had only heard it was a vampire book and wasn't terribly interested but a friend threatened to disown me if I didn't give it a try. I appreciate that kind of passion. It's a long recording so it will take some time to really unfold. “

Marianne is revisiting an old friend. “I'm reading for the second time Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. I'm doing it again so that I can discuss it with the Post Road Seniors, a new book group that formed this summer. While the book is fiction it is based on a true account of how in 1666 when the plague was rampant, one small town in England struck by the disease, isolated themselves from the rest of the area. The townspeople hoped to save their neighbors from coming down with the infection. The story is told through the eyes of a courageous young widow, Anna Frith, and I loved the way the author used the language of the times without making it sound stilted or unreal. Brooks also portrays the brutal day to day lives of the villagers dealing with this disease in a very believable way. The reader gets to see the gamut of human behavior when people are faced with a catastrophe over which they have no control. I can guarantee that this is a book that will stay with you for a long time.”

The Citizen Asha who will be taking over for me next week whilst I am off on vacation is enjoying a whole new level of dysfunction. “I am reading Burn Down the Ground by Kambri Crews. It is phenomenal, not only do you get an insight into the Deaf Community, but also you get to see how her family life starts to disintegrate, she realizes that her parents (with whom she has a close relationship) are fallible, her brother is probably not the best role model for her (and he needs to learn to keep his hands to himself) and that she now has to make hard decisions. I am a fan. “


Jeanne as usual has many things going on at once and weighs in with the following: “  I am in the very middle of the audio version of  Origin by Diana Abu-Jaber. This is a mystery that will have you wanting the mystery solved immediately but you'll be afraid to know the answer. Is it true that sometimes horrible things happen for no reason? Aren't we glad to know there are professionals that can figure out why and make it stop? Lena Dawson is a fingerprint expert in Syracuse, New York. But she is much more than that with an eerie intuition about the SIDS cases that have her crime lab and the Feds looking at baby imports and trying to contain public fear. I had to get the Kindle version so I could read on wheels and off.”

I am really enjoying The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields. Fields tells the story of Edith Wharton’s love affair when she was 45 with Morton Fullerton a much younger and not terribly reputable man who she met in Paris. Honestly? When I think Wharton the last thing I think is Cougar. Well, this book has totally changed my mind on that score. It also includes the story of her governess turned literary secretary who watches this all unfold with a rather disapproving eye. This one is due out in August and get ready for it. It’s going to be a big one!
 

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