Geez, has it been
four five months since I did my last book report? I can't find one after June, which means July through November. Gah. Well, here goes. I'm probably going to forget some.
- The Virgin Blue, by Tracy Chevalier. I'd enjoyed Girl With a Pearl Earring so when I saw a copy of Chevalier's first book on sale, I picked it up. It was a quick read, crossing back and forth between the narratives of two women in France -- one from the 17th century, the other from contemporary times. I don't think this one was as well-written as her second book, and it seems to vacillate between being Serious Historical Fiction and chick-lit, but on the whole, I enjoyed reading it.
- Jar City, by Arnaldur Indridason. You might think I'd run out of detective stories from icy European countries, but you'd be wrong. This one is set in Reykyavik, Iceland, and begins with the murder of an old man in his apartment. It turns out he was "a nasty piece of work" having raped at least one woman.
- Three books by Laura Lippman. The first was The Sugar House, part of her Tess Monaghan detective series set in Baltimore. A teenager goes to prison after pleading guilty to murdering a runaway, then a month later is himself killed in prison. His sister hires private eye Monaghan to find out what really happened. Entertaining and the insider's view of Baltimore was interesting. For instance, I learned that Domino's Sugar is made (or was made?) in Baltimore. The second two books were standalone mysteries. Every Secret Thing is the story of two young girls who spent seven years in juvenile custody for the murder of a baby. The story picks up when they are released at age eighteen -- and shortly thereafter, another baby goes missing. I think my favorite of the three was To The Power of Three, which explores a school shooting committed by one of a trio of high school friends. The plot seemed especially relevant given the sad and constant barrage of news reports about violence in our schools.
- Three books (in fact, a trilogy) by Denise Mina. All three revolve around Maureen O'Donnell, a Glasgow woman whose family puts the "fun" in dysfunctional: alcoholic mother, father who sexually molested her then left town, sisters who don't believe she suffered the abuse, brother who's a drug dealer. In Garnethill, Maureen wakes up one morning with a splitting hangover -- and her boyfriend's dead body in the living room. In Exile, Maureen investigates the disappearance and murder of a battered woman staying at the shelter Maureen volunteers at. In Resolution,Maureen must cope with the trial of her boyfriend's murderer and her father's return to Glasgow (in time for the birth of her sister's baby), while getting entangled in the sudden death of a fellow flea-market vendor. Gritty depiction of life in Glasgow, good mysteries, and also vivid exploration of social issues like incest, alcoholism and prostitution.
Don't forget the BBF update on Wednesday, December 5th, with sock yarns and some worsted/DK weights (good for quicker-knitting holiday gifts).