Sunday 23 September 2007

Four books read recently

Finished September 22
Reading Life: Books for the Ages by Sven Birkerts
This book by professor, critic and essayist Birkerts is a collection of musings about the books that have been significant in his life, often reappearing at different points in this life and how revisiting them reveals information about age, growth, memory and other changes over time. He talks about how and when he read these books and what he took away from them each time. It was interesting to see how not only one sees different aspects of the book when viewing it from different times in ones life, but also how one may not be ready for a book at one time, but find it moving at another. It made me think about some of the books that have had a significance in my own life and also made me think about how I read the books I do.

Rattling the Bones by Ann Granger
This latest in the series featuring Francesca Varady reflects back on her previous homeless existence as she meets up with an older lady that had also been homeless then. Edna has been taking into a charity home, but still spends most of her time roaming the streets and interacting with the cats she meets. When Edna shows fear when noticing a young man watching her, Fran is determined to find out why Edna is scared and what someone would want from her. The search for this information leads Fran to a detective agency, to the current caregivers of Edna, and to Edna's past. She realizes that there is a need to protect Edna from someone who doesn't seem to want her found and brings her police friend Janice Morgan into the loop. Fran's friend Ganesh is still trying to keep her out of trouble, while her detective friend Susie helps with advice. Enjoyable as usual.

Finished September 20
Stardust by Neil Gaiman, read by Neil Gaiman
This book was one I listened to, and I think having the author reading added something to the experience. This is a fantasy novel, that has recently been made into a movie (which I would like to see). I've liked everything I've read to date by Gaiman, and enjoyed the interview tacked onto the end of this recording. The book is very much a fairy tale, taking place either in the world of Fairy or just outside its boundary in the village of Wall. The main character is an earnest young man, son of a farmer and ignorant of his real mother's identity as a being from the world of fairy. He sets out to prove his love for the village beauty by bringing her back a star that they see fall. But the star turns out to be a something other than what he expects, and others seek her for reasons of their own. I very much enjoyed this book.

Black Seconds by Karin Fossum
This novel of psychological suspense is centered around the disappearance of an extremely cute seven-year-old girl. She has set off on her bicycle to go to the nearby shop but never arrives. The police are called in and organize searches, but Ida seems to have vanished without a trace. Many characters have their own secrets and stories, and this adds to the suspense. In Ida's own family her two cousin's react very differently, one not wanting to speak of her at all. A friend of the cousin is involved in the local drug trade and is trying to avoid police suspicion, an elderly woman tries to protect her son, who appears to be autistic. Inspector Sejer is a thoughtful, caring police officer who takes his job seriously and tries to consider all options. I have found this series very enjoyable and this latest book is no exception.

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