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September 10, 2010

Carol's Vacation Reading End of Summer 2010

Posted by Anonymous

I startedgood daughters.JPG my reading with THE GOOD DAUGHTERS by Joyce Maynard. This one has it all --- story, setting and characters. The good daughters refers to the two girls in the book who are birthday twins as well as strawberry plants and how they are propagated. Great book for discussion for readers and book clubs. 

From there I picked up CROOKED LETTER CROOKED LETTER by Tocrooked letter.JPGm Franklin, which will be in stores on October 5th. A few weeks ago on the Twitter chat I saw a lot of conversation among librarians about this book. Set in a small Mississippi town in the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas “32” Jones become friends. They are both poor; one is white and one is black. In their teens Larry takes a girl out on a date and she is missing by the following morning. The county is torn apart by this. Now 20 years later another girl is missing and all eyes are on Larry again. The back story coupled with the story of what is unfolding now delivers a brilliant book that I already know will be a Bets On pick for me.

safe haven.JPGNext as my ode to being at the beach in North Carolina I read SAFE HAVEN by Nicholas Sparks, which will be in stores on Tuesday. The setting for this one was the beach as well, albeit further down the coast from me, but as folks were working up a powerful thirst and moving slowly in the heat I did so very much relate! This one has elements of romantic suspense beyond women’s fiction as Katie the main character is hiding from her past. She meets and befriends a widower and his young children in the town and from there begins to embrace life again. There’s high enjoyment in this one and many lovely moments as well as a solid sequence of action.

A couple of months ago I heard Jennifer Donnelly present her boorevolution.JPGk REVOLUTION, which will be published in October. It’s a Young Adult novel with clear strong crossovers to the adult marketplace. It’s set in both present day and the French Revolution. History class is many years behind me at this point, but I found myself in a wonderful refresher course about Paris two centuries ago. Andi , the modern character, has a number of issues of her own to grapple with. Her younger brother has been killed, something for which she blames herself, her father has a new wife and her mom is pretty much checked out. When her father declares she will join him for winter break in Paris Andi goes kicking and screaming. She there finds Alexandrine’s (love that name) diary and from there she is caught up in this historical story. Donnelly has done an award-winning job of bringing the stories together. There also is a wonderful discussion of music drawing connections between old world artists and today’s modern musicians. It will be my first Bets On pick that is a YA title. id know you anywhere.JPG

Moving back to the present, next up was Laura Lippman’s I’D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE. I had dinner with Laura in Washington, DC in June and now am kicking myself that I did not read this one RIGHT AWAY! Strong prose, fully drawn characters, lot of suspense and huge issues to think about/talk about regarding the death penalty and how the condemned negotiate their final moments to reveal other victims make this one just brilliant. Interesting fact --- the first week out this book sold more eBooks than print books.

A couple of months ago when we started talking about our propotimbuktu.pngsed college-twentysomething site we had a great meeting with Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg, who have written a book called TO TIMBUKTU: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story that will be out next spring. They met in Morocco during a semester abroad and after college decided to travel together first to China and then all the way to Timbuktu that took place over two years after they got out of school. It’s a story of intrepid adventure as well as a brilliantly composed piece about pushing your limits and building a relationship under some very formidable conditions. Casey’s voice and tone is just terrific and Steven’s illustrations beautifully punctuate the pages. Their honesty about exactly how romantic and unromantic travel like this is lends an authenticity to their work. I confess that as much as I would love my son Greg to read this I will confiscate his passport before I do since he spent the last two weekends in Maine and San Antonio and this weekend heads to Vermont. I see the postcards from Timbuktu NOW.

pretty little things.JPGBack to the world of thrillers I read Jilliane Hoffman’s PRETTY LITTLE THINGS. I have loved Jilliane’s work since she wrote RETRIBUTION a while ago. This time the Internet as a tool for predators gives this story its focus and BAM a young girl is captured and when she awakes she realizes she is not alone. Sting operations, a reporter who gets in the way of the police and an investigator whose own daughter has been missing for years keep the action going in this one. We''l have a review of it next week!

On the drive back I read a wonderful manuscript by a British author Daisy Goodwin, which will be published here as AMERICAN HEIRESS next spring. LOVED this one for its period rich story. It opens in Newport in its glory days when the Astors were on the scene and midnight balls were all the rage. Cora Cash’s mother wants what many mothers of the day want for their society daughters --- a royal title. Thus she goes to England in search of this and readers learn that this is a time when money really does buy anything. The details on the fashions, customs and the other historical details are just wonderful. I already have slated it as a Bets On for 2011.

Well, I started and ended my trip with Iris Johansen’s CHASING THE NIGHT. How this chasing the night.JPGhappened is a typical story of me and the hotel we stay at each year in Chesapeake on the way to the Outer Banks so we can get on the island early in the morning and beat the traffic. On the drive down I was reading CHASING THE NIGHT and as I was wide awake when everyone else was ready to sleep I whipped out my Light Wedge and kept reading. I left the book on the nightstand. As we started out our drive the next day I looked for it and when it was not to be found I assumed it was in a bag. No go. Instead it had been dropped between the nightstand and the bed.

Housekeeping at this hotel should have the address of the OBX house on file at this point since someone, usually me, leaves something behind every year. And this year I really really checked the room. So each day I wait for Fedex to bring me the book. By Wednesday I call the hotel again where they say there was a problem with the address so they called our house at home to see what to do though I had left my cell number. Since Hurricane Earl was pulling up at any moment I suggested CHASING THE NIGHT and the book light travel to the house in NJ so I was not playing “chasing the book.” Thus they arrived last Tuesday afternoon so I could hunker down and continue to read.

For those of you not familiar with Iris Johansen’s work, her lead character, Eva Duncan is a forensic sculptor who can sculpt faces from bone fragments to bring closure to those parents who have lost their children. Duncan’s own  daughter Bonnie was stolen from her and this she has some heavy baggage there each day as she works. Now another woman has come to her, Catherine Ling a CIA agent whose son Luke was taken from her when he was two as an act of revenge; he now would be eleven and if Eva can recreate his face she may have an edge on finding him. The action here is swift and ferocious as Eva is swept up into a truly evil world with Catherine. So much happened in the first forty pages that I looked up and thought “I am only 40 pages in?” Looking forward to finishing it! It’s not leaving the house again!