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- (12/27)Real Murders by Charlaine Harris.
- The first in the Aurora Teagarden series, written by the
author of the Shakespeare series ("Shakespeare's Champion," etc.). I
loved the Shakespeare series so I was a little wary of this one (usually
authors can only hook me into one of their series). But this is great!
Aurora Teagarden is a librarian! Plus, there are a lot of books in this
series, as it's the series she has been working on the longest. In this
one, Aurora, a member of a local club that studies true crime called "Real
Murders," discovers a club member who has been murdered in exactly the
method as the victim in the true crime case she was set to present to the
club that evening. Soon more murders start to occur, each one a copycat
of a famous slaying. Is a club member to blame? Who's going to get
next? Which cute guy will Aurora end up falling for? Great fun; I'm
really looking forward to reading more.
- (12/25)Dead Low Tide by Jamie Katz.
- When lawyer Dan Kardon's friends' son is murdered, they ask
him to assist in the ensuing investigation. The more Dan digs, though,
the closer he gets to revealing a bunch of stuff both cops and locals
don't want revealed. Pretty stock stuff, but fun anyway.
- (12/23)Common Ground by J. Anthony Lukas.
- Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction book that follows the lives
of three American families in Boston in the late 60's and early 70's,
right after MLK Jr's assassination and during the race riots and busing
controversies that followed. Each family represents a type -- there are
two working-class families, one Irish-American and the other
African-American, and then there is a white middle-class family. Lukas
writes with a great deal of honesty, telling both the good and bad things
without ever turning anyone into a stock stereotype. It's got lots of
historical and social perspective. Fascinating. Highly recommended!
(12/20)Celebrity by Thomas Thompson.
- The story of three men who rise to fame in three very
different ways. Only they discover that even being famous doesn't erase
the terrible secrets you hold. A good thriller.
- (12/17)The Beach by Alex Garland.
- Novel about a bunch of 20-somethings who set up a utopian
society on an isolated island in Thailand. Of course, though,
20-somethings in the 1990's are always paranoid potheads, so by the end of
the novel, they're all on the verge of killing each other. Supposed to be
a "Lord of the Flies" for the modern era, but it was just plain stupid
instead. Wholly unbelievable plot, really annoying "Generation X" writing
- (12/13)'Tis by Frank McCourt.
- Sequel to "Angela's Ashes," this time following Frank's life
in New York City after leaving Limerick, Ireland at age 18. He lands in
the Big Apple with diseased eyes, rotten teeth, and not a whole lot going
for him. By the end of the book, he's gotten it more together, but not by
a whole heck of a lot. I loved the first 4/5 or so of this -- I really
like McCourt's writing style. However, the end fizzles out a bit, even
pretty significant events happen in the last 30 pages. I still heartily
recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the first one. I'm not going to lie
and say it's much happier than "Angela's Ashes," but what's with all you
people scorning that book for being "depressing," anyway? Of course it's
depressing! What did you expect? Leprechauns??
- (12/8)Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner.
- Excellent (duh) novel about a black man (Lucas Beauchamp)
falsely accused of murdering a white man and the boy who believes him and
sets out to prove his innocence. On the one hand, it's about sticking to
your guns when you know a man is being wronged ("Some things you must
always be unable to bear. Some things you must never stop refusing to
bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame. No matter how young
you are or how old you have got. Not for kudos and not for cash: your
picture in the paper nor money in the bank either. Just refuse to bear
them" (p201)). On the other hand, Faulkner goes off a bit at the end
about the Civil War (no surprise here, right, guys?) and says that the
North acted too quickly -- most Southerners believed slavery was wrong but
just needed the time to work it all out, not the bloodshed: ". . .and
you [the North] say At least we perish in the name of humanity and we [the
South] reply When all is stricken but that nominative pronoun and that
verb what price Lucas' humanity then?" (p. 212). God, I love that man.
This is a good
one to start with if you're a Faulkner rookie -- it's pretty short and
doesn't do any flipping around in time.
- (12/4)Cowboy by Sara Davidson.
- Weird memoir-novel that's based on a true relationship the
author had with a cowboy from Arizona. Her friends thought she was
totally nuts, and her children weren't too pleased either, but somehow the
odd couple manage to survive all that. It wasn't quite what I expected,
but I enjoyed it anyway.
- (12/3) Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs.
- The first in the series (I read the second last month)
featuring Tempe Brennan, forensic anthropologist. This one is about a
serial killer who dismembers the bodies. Tempe is the first to notice
that a bunch of murdered women have the exact same cuts on their bones and
tries to get the police to believe that they were all killed by the same
guy. Of course, the head cop is French (well, French-Canadian), so he's a
condescending jerk (no offense). She eventually gets them to come around,
though, after she becomes a target herself. Reichs writes a good story,
though I have some problems with her style. She's waaaaaaaay too heavy
with the similes, sometimes having 4 or 5 on the same page. They're very
unique similes, which I appreciate, but I started to get kind of tired of
the phrase "like a. . ." Still, I recommend both her books to anyone who
likes mysteries about strong women who are into forensic medicine (like
Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series).