I know that last week I promised more exciting Caroline news. I lied. You all are going to have to wait another week. But trust me. It will be worth the wait. Also there is no egg tree this week. We are too cold. In related news, please won’t you join me in visualizing a soup pot in PA with a certain someone inside it? I think you know who. This week we have Chicks with Bricks (oh yes. They are BACK! And we may never let them leave!), a prostitute, an invalid, a flat out imposter! some perfection, the Bronx, and a few punches being thrown.
Let us begin!
Abby is reading this one on her own. I swear. I had nothing to do with this. “They say ‘write what you know’ so it makes perfect sense that Anne Perry is now a world famous writer of murder mysteries. This can only mean that like so many of my co-workers, I too am reading Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century by Peter Graham. The book will be released May 1. I'm only about 20% in but am having a tricky time coming up with a one word description. The best I can do: whacked (but in a good way). Thus far, this true story of Perry as a teen living in New Zealand and participating in a brutal murder is creepy, surreal, and disturbing. High praise indeed. One thing I know is I don't ever want to see the words ‘brick’ and ‘sock’ together in the same sentence. I can't wait to steal a few minutes here and there to keep reading while I'm supposed to be doing other things. By the end, I suspect I will be obsessed with Anne Perry and read everything I can find about the case.”
Miss Kiera of the CL is enjoying some YA lit! “This week I totally love Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. I should have known I’d fall in love with this book since I adored her first novel, Between Shades of Grey (not to be confused with another title of dubious origin that employs both the words “shades” and “grey.”) Out of the Easy is set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950. Josie is a young girl who is caught between two worlds. Her mother is a prostitute who is selfish, destructive, and abusive. Josie longs to get out of New Orleans, attend college, and remake herself into an educated, respectable person. She doesn’t want to fall into the traps of the environment she has grown up in and yet she finds herself being pulled into the seedy underbelly of the Big Easy. Like David Copperfield, Josie must discover if she is to be the heroine of her own life or whether that station will be held by anyone else. Sepetys populates Josie’s world with fully-formed supporting characters and weaves such rich details into the setting that you can almost taste and smell fresh beignets and chicory-spiced coffee. “
Miss Elisabeth of the CL is sneaking in an adult book! “I just finished The House Girl, a debut novel by Tara Conklin. I enjoyed it, although I could put it down, so it wasn't as enthralling as I thought it would be. It tells the story of two very different women living very different lives. In the present day, ambitious lawyer Lina Sparrow is assigned to work on a slavery reparations case at her prestigious law firm. Her job is to find the descendent of a slave with a compelling story to capture the hearts and minds of the potential jury. Meanwhile, in 1852, Josephine is a talented artist and house slave to Lulu Bell, an invalid and aspiring artist. Their stories intertwine in interesting ways, but I found the parts that took place in 1852 much more interesting than the parts which took place in the present.”
Barbara M. I cannot continue on believing that this is ok. “I have finally finished Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and it was worth investing my time in each of its 922 pages. I have, however, not moved from the continent of Asia for I have started How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid. It is a parody of a self-help book and because it is written in the 2nd person it puts you, the reader, in the center of the story. Hamid’s writing is clever and wry and the story line holds your interest.” There is not a baguette, Eiffel Tower or Nazi in sight. I say, “Bring Back Barbara! We don’t want this imposter!”
At least Jeannie is back to normal and doing two things at once! “I am reading the The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France by John Baxter. I thought it might be cathartic after reading The Dinner. And it is! I can still look forward to an evening of dining with family and friends. Of course it's the food that matters! Mr. Baxter makes his way from the perfect Apéritif to the perfect Entrée to the perfect Digestif and the many courses in between to create the perfect feast to be enjoyed with family and friends. Baxter, an expat, seeks out the best ingredients and pairs them with engaging commentary on this most wonderful of foodie regions as he travels through Paris and its suburbs. I love the little pen and ink drawings that complement many pages. My Beloved World is a memoir by Sonia Sotomayor. I am reading it more out of interest in the background of the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice than for its page-turning quality. She tells her story in plain language of growing up in the Bronxdale projects in poverty, with an alcoholic father and an angry mother, who both worked to provide her with tuition for what they considered the best education at Catholic schools. Sotomayor grows into a smart, discerning woman and graduates from Princeton and Yale to become a corporate lawyer and a Supreme Court judge. Although she had a difficult life she talks fondly about family, especially her Abuelita with whom she spent a lot of time. She describes many life experiences that may have been influential in her success, like how at an early age she regularly accompanied her grandmother to buy whole chickens and watched them being butchered so they'd get the right one or how she became good at poker. This is an interesting read.”
Stephanie tells us her take on a book that has been divisive to say the least. “Opinion is divided in the library about The Dinner by Herman Koch, so I had to read it. I liked it! So far it seems like the people who haven’t liked it or who have been unable to finish it found the characters too unlikable, which is fair, but I loved how horrible those characters were. They were horrible and unredeemable almost to the point of parody, like in an A. M. Homes novel. I love that. The book is very well-paced and escalates at just the right speed. It’s also an absurdly fast read for being almost 300 pages. A perfect book for the plane, unless you’re stuck behind a seat-reclining jerk, because it will probably nudge you to finally give that jerk what’s coming to him. (There are some great passages about what it feels like to imagine you’re punching somebody in the face.) Or a great summer read if you’re the type who sits under an umbrella instead of out in the sun.”