Monday, February 28, 2011

A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

A Secret Kept was written by the same author that wrote the book club favorite Sarah's Key. That didn't interest me as much as the title of this one. Who doesn't love a book about family secrets? Set in Paris, this is the story of a man going through middle-age crisis who discovers a long-kept secret about his mother, who passed away when he was a child. The secret itself takes a long time to come out, but the book is so beautifully written that by the time it's revealed, you don't even care.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Tiger by John Vaillant

In the furthest eastern region of Russia, a poacher is killed and eaten by a tiger and the authorities track the tiger and kill it. Sounds cut and dried. But this book tells so much more. We are taken through the history of tigers in the Far East, their ancient relationship with man, the evolution of Russian culture and economics before and after Perestroika, and the role of the tiger in Asian culture - both traditionally and in the modern world.

John Vaillant uses this one incident to to tell a phenomenally beautiful and riveting story of man vs. beast as well as man vs. man. It was often difficult to choose for whom to cheer and/or cry. I kept forgetting I was listening to a true story, yet if this had been a novel, it would have been criticized as too impossible to be credible.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Friend When in Need

Peter Mayle is my go-to guy. When I've read something heavy, disturbing, or am stressed out, I visit Peter. I started with Chasing Cezanne and never looked back. Just because I want to read something lighter, it still has to have enough 'tooth' to keep me reading. His fiction takes place all or in part in the south of France and reflects the mood of the region - life is to be enjoyed. His characters are engaging and the plots grab you and reel you in like a trophy trout. A little mystery, a little romance, all delivered with humor and smarts. They're no vin ordinaire!


Monday, February 14, 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I waited a very long time to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo due to the high volume of holds, and when I finally did... Well, let's just say I don't get all the hype. Yes, it was well written. And yes, the plotting was good and the characters were well defined. But, in my opinion, it was simply just (yawn) OK. I am told that if I read the next one in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire, I will appreciate the first one more. We'll see!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Play Dead by Harlan Coben

This first novel, Play Dead, has recently been re-issued, and the author has put a note in the front cautioning readers "Okay, if this is the first book of mine you are going to try, stop now. Grab another...So this is it, the exact book I wrote in my early twenties..." Well, it may have been his first, but he certainly didn't disappoint. As in all of his other work, he once again writes a suspense novel with so many twists and turns that your head is spinning. This novel may not be as tightly wound as is his usual style, but it is still well worth your time to read!