Let’s read books!
Here’s a quick look at the books I’ve been curling up on the couch with. Well, curling up with these, a big grey cat, and a hot mug of Earl Grey tea.
First, a picture of that big grey cat. Ivan has claimed the ledge under the coffee table in the living room as his. He shares with a pile or two of books.
A Ship of Pearl by Adela Crandell Durkee. Admittedly, I’m biased as the author is a friend. I love that this is a Michigan book: it’s always fun to read about the state in which I was born and currently live. And the story? Top notch. Appropriate for young adults, this novel explores coming of age when your whole world crashes.
The Atlantis Gene: A Thriller (The Origin Mystery, Book 1) by A.G. Riddle. Oooooo, now this I liked. I downloaded this in preparation for vacation travel back in October. It’s perfect for that: metaphysics, motivation, ancient history, mystery – and a whole lot of excitement. It’s the kind of book I can read but – when it inevitably comes to the big screen- couldn’t possibly watch because of the twists, turns, and awesome scenery. P.S. It’s an epic battle between “good” and “evil.”
When The Moon Is Low: A Novel by Nadia Hashimi. This book has all of the things I love in a great story: love, mystery, travel, adventure, and overcoming immense hardship. Unfortunately, there’s an ending that moved this from awesome book to enjoyable – nearly why did I bother. After all of the excitement, it ends like that. Really? Pfffft.
The Sixteen Pleasures by Robert Hellenga. So this is a book about an erotic book – a really old erotic book. And one reviewer called it “an erotic book about an erotic book.” I wouldn’t go that far as there’s nothing “erotic” in the titular sense here. The eroticism comes from the Florence, Italy setting, and from the passion the characters show for their work, each other, and life. If you enjoy art history, and bookmaking that just so happen to include the discovery and restoration of an ancient erotic book (as well as the restoration of a noted fresco,) this is definitely for you.
Mary Coin by Marisa Silver. Surely you’ve seen the cover photo before, right? It’s “Migrant Mother” by Dorthea Lange, and it’s one of the most iconic photos of the last hundred years. This novel is a “fictionalized imagining” of the life of the woman in the photo (who’s actual name is Florence Owens Thompson, but the author uses Mary Coin,) the photographer (called Vera Dara in the novel,) and the son of a migrant farm owner. The book is vibrant, poetic, alive, and a heartbreaking look at a heartbreaking reality.
The Why Did I Bother
I’m not sure whether Nathaniel’s Nutmeg by Giles Milton should be here, or above in the enjoyable category. I enjoyed the book, but feel it should come with a warning. The lengthy subtitle says the book is the true and incredible adventures of the spice trader who changed the course of history. And while it is about that, it’s also about ransacking, looting, bludgeoning, fighting, nasty politics, downright torture, and overall poor behavior of the human race towards one another and nature. In both subject and writing style, it’s a tough read and not for everyone.
Christmas Caramel Murder by Joanne Fluke is another in the Hannah Swensen cozy mystery series. I’ve read every book in the series, and this has to be the weakest. There’s a contrived plot twist based on A Christmas Carol, the new husband is barely mentioned, and the two former potential husbands play major roles. Talk about a bad cookie…don’t bite into this one.
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