Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: 'Bury Your Dead'

By Louise Penny
Crime fiction
September 2010
Minotaur Books
ISBN: 978-0-312-37704-5

Louise Penny began her Three Pines/Inspector Gamache series in the charming, Brigadoon-like Quebec village of Three Pines, where artists and creativity thrive and evil lurks, as traditional mysteries. The cast of suspects was limited in Miss Marple fashion. Quirkiness, such as celebrated poet and unrelenting crank Ruth Zardo, were highly regarded.

But as the series has continued, its creator has made each novel subtly more complex. Although food, art and quirkiness are still esteemed in Louise Penny's novels, there is far more going on in them than eccentricity and fair-play whodunits. The focus of the novels has become the human journey of forgiveness, despite knowing all too well the frailties of the other person involved.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Calendar: Faulkner birthday

There are upcoming posts in various stages of drafting, but meantime, it is William Faulkner's birthday. And here's this cool bookmark design that features one of his pithy ideas about reading, writing and thinking:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: 'My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me'

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read

•Open to a random page

•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My choice this week is from the upcoming Penguin original, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, an anthology of 40 original fairy tales. Kate Bernheimer has gathered together an incredible array of authors with stories not soon forgotten, including the one I've excerpted. This is from Ardour by Jonathan Keats:
The wintertime clamor became almost intolerable, each man playing whatever instrument he knew, dancing, tendering bread, mead, gold. Ardour ... entirely forgot what she'd wished once to find amongst men. (p. 10)
A special thanks to Laurie London, at whose blog I discovered Teaser Tuesday.

Review: 'The Elephant's Journey'

By Jose Saramago
September 2010
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 978-0547352589
Men have been many things over the years -- ignorant, greedy, forgetful, inconstant, loyal, intelligent, hard-working and inspired. To the fortunate, their companions have been animals. When that happens, animal companions represent the best of these qualities that mankind wishes or believes it displays.

Such is the case with the quiet, stolid Indian elephant Solomon in Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago's last novel, The Elephant's Journey. Saramago, who died this summer, took the true tale of an elephant that was regifted from King João III of Portugal to Archduke Maximilian as a wedding present in 1551, and turned it into a rambling fable of small acts and, when least expected, large emotions.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Review: 'Tears of the Mountain'

By John Addiego
September 2010
Unbridled Books
ISBN: 9781609530068

The histories of both Jeremiah McKinley and old California are displayed during the course of the Fourth of July in 1876 in John Addiego's novel. Jeremiah is one of those characters who just want to live a quiet life, to live and let live. But the most interesting things happen to him, and it all catches up with him during the course of this day.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Good Words: 'The Elephant's Journey'

The late Nobel Prize-winning Jose Saramago left us one more tale before his death this summer. The Elephant's Journey is a fable and mediation based on the real trip of an elephant from Lisbon to Vienna, a gift from King João III of Portugal to the Archduke Maximilian in 1551.

The huge contrast between the elephant's moving gestures and the oneupmanship practiced by many of the humans in this novel are portrayed with humor and knowing, wry compassion. Saramago, even in a scant 224 pages, also divulges in long asides whenever he feels like it, and often comes up with gems. To wit: