The Seville Communion (Arturo Perez-Reverte) is a heady whodunit, set in a Seville so vivid I could taste it. I stayed up late reading this one, but it left me flat the end. His male characters, from the former fake lawyer who dropped ash on his white suits to the many priests who peopled the mystery, were well-drawn and complex, but I found the women lacking in depth. They all had backstories quirks, but they didn’t come together for me. And I’m over the underlying theme of intellect makes faith impossible. I will look for another by this author, though. He writes so well.
Matthew Inman is also known as The Oatmeal. He writes about the inner battles he fights with his self-esteem and self-control and self-destruction as they are embodied in a giant, potato-shaped blob that tries to defeat him in all areas of life. And instead of fighting and losing and despairing and lying on the couch and eating another bag of Cheetos, he choses to outrun his demons. This is a delightful, crass, highly-illustrated romp through my psyche. Loved it.
I’m late to the Seabiscuit party, I know, but I’m a huge fan of Laura Hillenbrand after reading Unbroken. Seabiscuit is also extraordinary. Somehow Hillenbrand manages to capture all those little details from real life that make long ago times and places come alive. It also had short sections that made this easy to continue with despite the many interruptions of my day. I’m determined not to miss her next book.
Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine, a love letter to life around the table is exactly that. Each section read like a letter, and her love of people and food and friendship came through. Her essay about becoming able to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep had me weeping on the couch. Loved it.
I enjoyed the relationships in this novel of complicated family dynamics. I’m not sure I bought Lizzy’s identity as a high-powered chef in NYC, but what do I know. I’ve never been one. I’ll look for another from Katherine Reay.
Marcus Samuelsson’s Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home was a blast of a read– it made me not only want to eat, but want to cook. Between his and Niequist’s encouragement to make recipes my own, I’m full of newfound passion for cooking.
I devoured Patricia Cornwall’s Red Mist like candy… late at night and in the bath. The forensics were fascinating, and the novel pulled me along like an undertow. I really like reading books with strong protagonists, in which the women aren’t all victims and pawns, and the Kay Scarpetta books suit me well.
I’m not a huge fan of paranormal stories (I like my Sci-Fi with a heavy dose of Sci), but I’m glad I read The Telepath Chronicles. It’s an anthology of paranormal stories, including one by a writer I really enjoy, E.E. Giorgi (of Gene Cards, see review from November). It’s hard to describe the story without giving spoilers, but I’ll say that she weaves together beautifully the threads of grief, despair, wonder and hope. As a whole, the stories were thought provoking and good reads.
And P.S. Mary Birk’s Mermaids of Bodega Bay (which I reviewed a few months ago) is a free Kindle unlimited download right now!