Sunday, 4 March 2007

Finished a few books since Thursday

Finished Sunday, Mar 4
Specialty Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
This is a fascinating first novel.
Blue van Meer writes of her senior year in high school. It is the first year she spends all in one place in years. When she was in kindergarten, her mother Natasha was killed in a single car automobile accident. Since then her professor father, Gareth van Meer, has moved from one visiting lecturer position to another. She is drawn into a group of students nicknamed the Bluebloods, who meet weekly at the home of one of the teachers, Hannah Schneider. But in a disturbing incident at spring break, Hannah dies, and Blue's life is changed forever. The book is formed with each chapter representing a work in the western canon relating to the content. And yes, there is a final exam at the end of the book, so pay attention!

Finished Saturday, Mar 3
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt
This book was a slog. The hypothesis may have had value to it, but the writing was not inspired and I had to force my way through it. Too much academic style to the writing. Reading was not a happy experience.

Blogging by Nat McBride and Jamie Cason
From the Teach Yourself series, this basic guide is a good introduction to blogging and uses examples from both Blogger and Typepad. Very readable and organized to help you easily focus on specifics.

Finished Friday, Mar 2
Charles the Bold by Yves Beauchemin, translated by Wayne Grady
The first in a planned trilogy, this book takes us from the birth of Charles to his entry to high school. Details are abundant, and the style has been compared, fairly, to that of Dickens. I found it slow in spots, but the characters stayed interesting. Charles loses his baby sister, followed by his mother, and his father is less interested in him than alcohol. Charles has an affinity for dogs and they play large roles in his life. He is a good-natured hardworking boy with a quick smile and a tendency to fairness. Various people in his community take an interest in him and participate in his development. I'm already looking forward to the next book.

Finished Thursday, Mar 1
Snowblind by P.J.Tracy
Read by Mel Foster
Listened to the audiobook in the car. This is in the Monkeewrench series, although the Monkeewrench crew play a less central role in this one. Their role is important, but they don't appear that often. The reading is good, with the phone calls being done in a hollow sort of way, very different. Magozzi and Rolseth play central roles as does the new sheriff of Dundas County to the north of Minneapolis, Iris Rikker. The crimes start with the bodies of two policeman being found inside snowman at a snowman competition and thus ensure a public eye is being laid on the case from the start. Iris Rikker is a newbie police officer, a former teacher, but well aware of her own shortcomings. I really enjoyed her as a character. The compound of Bitterroot, a safe town for abused women starts coming up during the investigation and plays a role in the outcome. Altogether an interesting premise with moral questions and no easy answers.

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