Saturday, April 16, 2011

Recent reading

I haven't posted about books I've read in a long time, but I have read some unforgettable ones lately:

- Most recently, I finished The Devil's Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke. It was definitely light and fluffy, but the recipes throughout are to die for. Hannah owns a cookie shop and has an assortment of friends and family who help her solve murders in her little Minnesota town. I am going to write down a few of the recipes before I return the book to the library, and I anxiously await Fluke's cookbook, Murder She Baked, coming soon.

- Before that, I finished All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy for our book group this coming Wed. night. I had read it before but realized while reading that I had forgotten almost everything. It's a western set in 1949 when 16-year-old John Grady Cole leaves his Texas ranch with a friend and heads into Mexico. He encounters quite a bit of violence, hard work, many horses, and love along the way. Even though all the dialog lacks punctuation, there's lots of untranslated Spanish, and it is fairly depressing, the language is quite poetic and the mood sticks.

- My favorite new-found author is Erin Hart, whose three mysteries are mostly set in Ireland. In the first novel, Haunted Ground, pathologist Nora Gavin and anthropologist Cormac Maguire investigate the discovery of a Centuries-old severed head in the peat bogs. Romance and intrigue ensue, and I'm already looking forward to the next book.

- Because so many others have raved, I finally got around to reading The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larson last week. It was slow going at first and I almost set it aside a few times. But it really got going toward the middle. I was dismayed at the violence toward women, however, and don't plan to read the other two books in the series.

- But another book that "everyone" has been reading, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, turned out to be great. It has been marketed for young adults but adults will like it, too, as it is told from the point of view of Death and a young girl during the Holocaust. The author has an unusual way of telling the story we are fairly familiar with.

- The Union Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini was pretty good, not literary, but interesting Civil War fiction about what women were doing in the north while the men were at war or captured in prison. Since I've been handling antique quilts at the Vermont Historical Society every week, I have a greater appreciation for the women who made quilts to send to the front and to raffle off to raise funds for needed items to send the soldiers. This book also deals with the frustration black men felt when they were not allowed to serve in the Union army until late in the war.

- Finally, I plugged along with The Tea Lords by Halle Haase because it felt as if I was reading Roots. Haase based her novel on diaries and letters of Dutch tea planters in Indonesia and it could have been more gracefully written. Still, this story of one such plantation owner from youth to death mirrors the lives of many of my forebears.

No comments: