Happy Sunday everyone. We have a new treadmill in the basement and Elly thinks that the type of activity a treadmill is used for should be reserved for the street – preferably with a dog leash in hand. The teenager is busy actually cleaning and has some college app work that needs to be finished up and himself is off looking at slides of trees.
I love it when my blog perusing lends itself to themes. A brief mention in A Work In Progress led me The Vintage Book of American Women Writers just published on January 11th. The work showcases 350 of Poetry and Fiction and sounds like a wonderful way to add to our stack of To Be Read Books. It sounds like the type of book to have by the bedside to just dip in and out of. Then in A Striped Armchair’s Library Loot post, she talks about Well Read Lives: How Books Inspired a Generation of American Women by Barbara Sicherman. The book profiles individual women from America’s Gilded Age and the importance of reading for these women. Their reading helped transform their thinking and led to the many contributions women made in this time period. Both sound like great additions to anyone’s library.
Although the weather has warmed up here in the Hinterland (it has been in the forties – shirt sleeve weather) I know it is still cold and snowy other places. So how about a beach read, something you can read curled up on the couch with a cup of tea (or wine). The Boston Bibliophile reviews The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw. Set on Cape Cod, Marie describes it as, “a well-written thriller/domestic drama with characters I believed in just enough, and whose sometimes outlandish behavior I was happy to forgive if only it meant I could spend more time in their messy, chaotic world.” In a later posting, Marie interviews the author and is featuring a giveaway of the novel.
Swedish mysteries are an in thing right now and it is hard to figure out what is good and what isn’t. Last Sunday I mentioned Kim’s find of Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indriðason. This week she (Reading Matters) reviews Echos From the Dead by Johan Teorin which was voted Best First Mystery Novel in 2001 by the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers, a Glass Key Award in 2009 as well as various accolades from the Crime Writers Association. CWA judges describe the book as, The judges described his book as ‘… a Swedish mystery in which the island where the action takes place is as much a player in the drama as the people are. Julia’s young son goes missing and 20 years later, his sandal is sent to her father Gerlof. Julia’s still fresh anguish, and the old man’s patient piecing together of fragments of the history of the island bad boy, Nils Kant, create a powerful and moving drama with a stunning denouement. The island, misty and deserted, lonely and creepy, is the backdrop which contributes so much atmosphere to a finely written intrigue.’
Kevin from Canada is recommending a Short Story/Novella collection Ether by Evgenia Citkowitz called Ether: Seven Stories and a Novella. While the collection doesn’t match some of the best that Kevin has read, it does seem like a worthwhile reading experience. The work seems to be an examination of the sharp turns our lives can take. The reviews mention words like “poetic”, “impressionistic”, “barred down to the bare essentials. This is Citkowitz’s debut but she does have a strong artistic heritage. Her mother was the novelist Lady Caroline Blackwood and her father, pianist Israel Citkowitz. Robert Lowell was her step-father for a period of time.
Both Bookdwarf and Devourer of Books mention The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah. Set in Mauritius during and following WWII, a young boy is in a prison hospital following a beating by his father, a prison guard. The prison is an internment camp for Jewish refugees and the boy is befriended by one of the orphans. After my disappointment of Day After Night, this book shows a lot more promise and I think it will go on my to read list.
Nicole of Linus’s Blanket has given me a book to get lost in, a psychological, suspense thriller just out called The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly. Basically a murder mystery written backwards and even with that premise, all the reviews are saying it remains full of dramatic tension. The novel revolves around three college students and a murder and sounds very intriguing. Fortunately for me the library is cataloging the novel as we speak and I am number 3 on the hold list.
If you like books about sibling relationships, strange families, or if you are a Shakespeare fan, Beth of Beth Fish Reads reviews a book coming out January 20, 1011 called The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. The father in the story is a Shakespeare scholar so there are many quotes from the plays but from what I have read, they seem to be well integrated into the plot and a knowledge of the Bard and his works does not seem necessary to enjoy this debut novel. And Beth, even though it is early in the year, finds it hard to see this book not being on her Top List for 2011, so I think it might be something special.