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Books for March

1. First Among Sequels, Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde has an absolutely amazing mind. In my head I picture it as being stuffed to the brim with clockwork, gears constantly whirring and clicking into place. Seriously, the scenarios he comes up with, the inventive wordplay, the world-building … he is amazing.

However, if you’re new to Fforde, don’t start with this book!Begin at the beginning, which is a logical place to, you know, begin.

2. The Flight of Gemma Hardy, Margot Livensey

Jane Eyre reimagined as something set in the 1960s and involving Iceland. And it is actually not as bad as it sounds. Not terribly surprisingly, it lacks the emotional punch of Jane Eyre, not the least of which because this Jane – here named Gemma - doesn't tear herself away from her Mr. R for moral reasons,but because she's disappointed that he's not perfect. And it’s really a rather small indiscretion, in the grand scheme of things. He even says it himself: "Please. Gemma ... it's not as if I have another wife!"

That said, the writing is really quite lovely, and it was loads of fun noticing the similarities and differences to the original. I suppose this is more of a homage than a retelling, and if it’s approached as such it can be quite charming.

3. Life, on the Line, Grant Achatz (and that other dude.)

I’m not into Achetz’s food style – experimental cuisine isn’t really my thing, and while I certainly marvel at his skill (not the least of which the is the feat of timing 18 bite-sized courses for a restaurant full of people) the book didn’t make me want to rush out and eat in his restaurant. Which is a good thing, because I don’t think I could in good conscious spend that much on one meal anyway. BUT. He’s passionate about food, and passionately interested in all things food. Also he used to work for Thomas Keller (!!!). And of course the story of his fight with cancer is stunning and inspiring.

The only quarrel I had with this is that it goes along as written by Achatz for at least half the book and then suddenly there are parts written by his business partner, and it keeps switching randomly back and forth with no clear delineation between the two voices. This may have just been a formatting issue with the e-book - I hope so.

4. 11/22/63, Stephen King

My second ever Stephen King! The writing remains as well-crafted as ever, and he does what he seems to do best: create a current of unease that begins subtly and builds to an almost agonizing end. I was curious to see how he would handle the time travel thing, and honestly I think it’s one of the better and most realistic looks at the ramifications of time travel in general and changing history in particular.

 ALSO, the end made me cry.

Goodbye, Sadie. You never knew me, but I love you, honey.”

5. Below Stairs, Margaret Powell

With the popularity of Downton Abbey, this is getting some well-deserved hype. It was originally published in the 1960s and it does show its age a bit, but overall it’s a spunky and straightforward look at Margaret’s life as a kitchen maid and then cook.

6. Gift of the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh

So yeah, I was half way through this before I realized Anne was Charles Lindbergh’s wife! I have a special interest in that couple and have since I discovered a scrapbook in our archives full of newspaper articles detailing their courtship, marriage and tragic loss of their son. Anne was SO beautiful as a young woman, and their early life seems so glamorous … at least in the society pages of the New York papers.

I realize none of that has to do with the book in question, which is thoughtful and beautiful and well worth reading. I may share snippets from it later, when I find where I copied those snippets down ...

7. At Home In France, Ann Barry

Ho hum. Not very great, but not very bad. Single New Yorker buys house in rural France, escapes her city life periodically to play at country living. This makes it sound worse than it is, but I think I’ve just read to many “I just bought an old house in Italy/France, now what do I do?!” memoirs.

8. Branded Beauty, Mark Tungate

This sounded better in theory than in the execution thereof. I was expecting a bit more about actual marketing techniques used by cosmetic companies to convince us we NEED the latest lash-enhancing mascara to be beautiful. Instead I got a lot of the history of cosmetic companies. Interesting in its own right, but not what I expected.

9. The Reading Promise, Alice Ozma

I’ve seen some criticisms of this book because “the dad clearly has issues! Dysfunctional family drama! Etc!” but really, everyone’s got some issues and at least this dad did a wonderful thing for his daughter by sharing his love of books with her. He read aloud to  her every night for ten years. Every night. Every single night. Yes.

Also, I was Alice Ozma to be my friend. She is adorable.

10. I've Got Your Number, Sophie Kinsella

For people who like Bridget Jones’ Diary, Hester Browne’s Little Lady books, or Sarah Strohmeyer.  British (our heroine’s name is Poppy), hilarious situations (oh noes! How do I keep my fiance’s family from finding out I lost the heirloom engagement ring?) and a kind of precious love story with a Darcy-like character. I loved this!

Ebooks: 3

From the stack: 1



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 5th, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked Gift From The Sea! I loved it.
Apr. 7th, 2012 11:54 am (UTC)
I knew I'd heard about it from someone on LJ, but I couldn't remember who! Yes, it was packed to the brim with things to think about.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )