Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Reading on the Plane

I'm on vacation right now, and am in Australia.
Naturally it is a long trip from Canada, and I had to keep myself busy on the plane. Besides a bit of sleep and a couple of meals, I watched two movies, and read two books cover to cover.
Here is the bit about the books.

Finished February 9
How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo
The author of this book travelled the world to get experiences of single women in a variety of countries. Her main character Julie did the same. Julie left her job as a publicist for a publishing company and signed a book deal with her employer to write a book about being single.
The story goes back and forth between Julie on her travels in various cities and countries and her single friends back in New York. Her story begins with a discussion of why each of those friends is single. Her friends are: Georgia, a mother of two whose husband has just left her and is now with a younger woman; Ruby, who sinks into a deep depression at the end of every relationship, no matter the length, and no matter whether it is with a man or a pet; Alice, a legal aid lawyer who has set her mind and her energy towards finding a man; and Serena, whose interest in meditation and yoga sends her in unique directions looking for a meaning in her life.
Julie is sometimes joined by one or another of her friends on her travels, as well as getting assistance from them in terms of contacts in different countries.
One person she meets in her first stop (Paris) is Thomas, an owner of nightclubs that gives her a different view of the single life and the life of those not-so-single.
Julie's travels take her to Paris, Rome, Brazil, Australia, Bali, China, India, and Iceland. Along the way she learns something from each of the stops: a quality that each nation's women bring to their attitude towards relationships. Interesting insights and a offer of hope to those still looking for a meaningful relationship in their lives.

Finished February 10
The Anteater of Death by Betty Webb
The main character here is Teddy (Theodora) Bentley, a zookeeper assistant at a private zoo in central California. The place setting is Gunn Landing, a upper-class community with environmental limits on further expansion. The leading family is, of course, the Gunns, headed by matriarch Aster Edwina, and though Teddy's family has lost most of their money, she is also from a privileged background.
Her mother is very class conscious and resents Teddy's choice of job, as she resented Teddy's choice of boyfriend back in high school, shipping her off to a finishing school back east to get her away from the Latino boy.
The boy is now the local sheriff, Joe Rejas, and Teddy, now divorced, is finding herself drawn to him once again. The story begins with a body being found in the caged area of the anteater at the zoo, Lucy, one of Teddy's favorites, and an animal in the later stages of pregnancy.
Once the sheriff makes the arrest of a zoo employee for the death, Teddy feels compelled to get involved to clear her friend's name and find the true criminal. Her investigations get complicated by her family as well as intrigues within the Gunn family, but the case gets solved.
Teddy is an interesting character living in a small houseboat, and very attached to the animals in her life. She has a place between the local gentry and the working people and moves back and forth between the two groups. A light but different mystery.

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