Thursday, October 22, 2009

Child 44

An excellent novel of the Cold War Soviet Union. Not a spy novel, rather a crime novel, Smith does a fantastic job of conveying the emotions, motivations and actions of members of Soviet society in the days of Stalin and beyond.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lark & Termite

I did not like this book. It's a shortish book, but it was not a fast read. The story is told from shifting points of view over a few days both in 1950 and 1959. Basically it's a character study, and that's my main beef with it. I just did not like, identify with or enjoy these characters. The action was all remembered by the characters, and there just wasn't enough of it for my taste. Some might describe this as lyrical or poetic, but I describe it as dull.

Artemis Fowl

I read this to see if I thought if was appropriate for my 10-year-old and if I thought he would like it. He's just finishing the Percy Jackson, Greek mythology series, and we needed a new series to get to. I think this will suit him just fine. The main character, and the namesake of the book, is a bit of a shady 12-year-old, and thankfully, my son figured that out to. He realized that just because you're the main character, it doesn't make you "good" or "right." But the main part of the book, and the part my son will most enjoy, is Artermis' foes. They are elves and pixies and trolls and centaurs, a whole world of what we'd view as folklore creatures. My son loves fantasy, so this is right up his alley. I think the Artemis Fowl series is the next in our list.

Monday, October 12, 2009

City of Refuge

This is the novel I'll be recommending to anyone who asks me and probably to those who don't. Piazza tells the story of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina through some of the most real characters I've ever encountered in fiction. The descriptions of the storm itself and aftermath of the levee breaks are visceral, but it's the characters who really drive this story. I love the city of New Orleans and have been back several times since Katrina. This story cements my love for the city and my hopes that the government will do whatever it takes to do things right in the future so that Katrina never happens again.


A novel of crime set in Glasgow Scotland, a city I've never read about, Denise Mina paints a vivid set of characters and places as they ostensibly look to solve the crime that occurs in chapter 2. While the crime itself was gory, I'm glad that the novel didn't focus on that. Mina plays with a potentially unreliable narrator in a way that makes you question, yet hope, that our heroine, Maureen O'Donnell is in fact more together than you fear she is. I look forward to reading more of Mina's work.

Twenties Girl

I was so excited to find the latest Sophie Kinsella book available at my library just as I was leaving for the beach. I love Kinsella's heroines. They are always so adorable, and the latest heroines are no exception. As usual it's a quick read that leads to laughing out loud. While not as guffaw inducing as Can You Keep a Secret? and not as series inspiring as the Shopaholic, Twenties Girl is definitely worth taking a day to immerse yourself into and allow yourself the joy of this lighthearted story.

The Enchantress of Florence

This is my first Salman Rushdie novel. And I liked it. It's essentially a fairy tale right out of 1001 Arabian Nights. Set in the Middle Ages, this tale spans from India to the city state of Medici-run Florence and back again (and back again and again). Rushdie plays with the power of story-telling both to ourselves and to audiences. It's easy to be enchanted by this tale.