Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

It feels like it's been ages since I really loved a book. You know, the kind of book that comes along once or twice a year - the one that makes it hard to tolerate any activity other than reading because you must know what happens next. This book didn't quite reach that level of love for me, but I did find myself surprisingly sucked in. More so than I have in a while.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie features an 11 year old Brit named Flavia deLuce who is pretty much completely unbelievable in her Doogie Howserness but is nonetheless charming and so smartly written that I bought into her reality anyways. She lives on a remote English estate post WWII with her sad, widowed father and two snooty older sisters. She's a solitary aspiring chemist that keeps mostly to an old science lab located in one of the far off wings of her family estate, making poisons to use on her sisters.

When a dead jack snipe with a stamp on its beak appears on her doorstop she's intrigued. But when she finds a dead body in the cucumber patch the following morning, she launches into a mini murder mystery adventure.

I really quite liked this book and think I might pick up the next "Flavia deLuce mystery" soonish.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Twenties Girl

Wow. So many embarrassing things to say - where to start? First, I paid for this book. Second, I bought it because I confused Sophie Kinsella (the author) with Marian Keyes (an old favorite chick lit author of mine). Third I continued to think I was reading a Marian Keyes book the entire time I read the book. Which lead me to frequently think things like, "Wow Marian this book is TERRIBLE! What's happened to you? I mean, This Charming Man wasn't that good, but it was a hell of a lot more entertaining than THIS!"

It wasn't until I finished the entire book (which in my defense only took 2 days) that I saw an ad for a new book in the Shopaholic series on the last page. And I was all, "Huh? Why is there an ad for Shopaholic when this book is by.... oh.... WHAT?" So yeah, I'm a bozo. But so is Sophie Kinsella because this book is about a girl who gets visited by the ghost of her great aunt Sadie and they have weird and not terribly hilarious hijinks involving finding a missing necklace that is VERY important and really?


My desire to write thoughtful and humorous reviews has (temporarily, I hope) left me. I haven't become the ultimate cliche of a new mother - I'm still reading! I just don't feel much enthusiasm for sitting down at the end of the day to write about it. Waiting was a book club pick and while I'm glad to have read it, I struggled with liking the characters and got kind of sick of the ... waiting. The book takes place in communist China and follows a guy (I can't remember his name) who lives in the big city while his wife - through an arranged marriage - lives back in their small town raising their daughter. He falls for another, more modern woman and for 18 years he visits his wife and asks for a divorce. This was a story of waiting and while a fascinating look at China in the 60s, 70s and 80s, the characters annoyed and the drawn out waiting drove me a bit bananas. Waiting has never really been my forte though.