Monday, April 09, 2007

Back from Buffalo and back in school which only can mean one thing . . . no more fun reading for a while. So, my fellow book loving cyberfolk, please accept the last three reviews until June (unless I can sneak something great in between paper writing and other scholastic-type endeavors).

Today's theme: the known and the unknown. I picked up three books at the library before I left for Buffalo: two by authors I have read before and really, really liked and one by an author I had never heard of before, but the title was intriguing and I liked the picture on the book jacket. (Note: that's how I choose my wine and my football picks too! Never underestimate the power of excellent pictures!) The two known quantity authors were Tracy Chevalier, who wrote the very good Girl with a Pearl Earring and Jane Smiley, author of A Thousand Acres and MOO, both excellent books. Chevalier did not disappoint me with her book The Virgin Blue, a story of midwifery, marriage and the mystical union of past and present. I was fascinated with Ella Turner and Isabelle du Moulin, the two protagonists of the story. Not always pleased with them, but fascinated nonetheless. This book is definitely worth a shot. Smiley, however, disappointed me so very, very much with her story of the whiny, wealthy, navel-gazers of Los Angeles in Ten Days in the Hills. Besides the tediousness of the dialogue, the excessively graphic sex scenes were unnecessarily abundant. I mean really, do I really need that clinical of a description of genitalia in all states of being? Yikes. I was really ready for this novel to be over and yet I obsessively had to finish it.

The new author for me is Chris Bohjalian and the book is Before You Know Kindness. This book is the story of a New Hampshire family, the Seton's, and about the repercussions of a single cartridge left in a hunting rifle one July night. Fantastic characters, fluid plot and realistic dialogue. Also, one of the characters works for a PETA like organization and the description of organization and their motivations were really, really interesting. I would highly recommend this one as a book club read. If you read it, let me know what you think. Also, I am starting my summer reading list, so if you have any suggestions, please oh please leave them in the comment section. I will post the list for everyone to see and use.

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