Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fiction

It's been a long time since I did a fiction post. As usual, I have a wide variety... here we go!

Not Becoming My Mother by Ruth Reichl
I was a little put off by the title but kept an open mind. It was a quick, easy read, which is what I was looking for at the time. Ruth wrote about her real-life Mom who had extraordinary talent but was pushed by her parents and by the convention of the time to put aside her talents and become a housewife. Stifled by this role and clearly a fish out of water, her mother didn't excel in the role. Ruth grew up seeing her mother flailing through life. As a result Ruth makes some decisions about her own life and finds a new respect for her mother. Because this book is actually non-fiction, Ruth communicates her opinions about the roles of women through her attitude. I didn't agree with her but appreciate where she derived her perspective.

The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth J. Duncan
This fictional "who dun it" was charming if not terribly surprising. A nice read full of pretty and interesting and quirky characters. Not racy but intriguing. A beauty salon owner with some maturity uses her skills of observation to help the local authorities solve a baffling disappearance of a bride on her wedding day.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
I didn't make it past page 30. I'm not even sure what it's about. It was set during the Depression and a large family tries to make it through. Interesting descriptions of how the family gathered scraps for recycling to trade for bread. While it has excellent reviews, it didn't work for me.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Despairing. At some point the author evens tells us this is a story of despair. A wealthy man from a small town in Wisconsin in the 1930s? (I can't remember now exactly) writes a want ad for a "reliable wife". The woman who answers is not at all what he expected and she is not at all what we expect her to be. 100 pages or more into the book we find out her true shocking identity. The most interesting part of this tragic book is the man's reaction to learning about the woman's identity and her intentions and then what they do with it. Pretty depressing but very, very interesting.

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, book 1) by Laurell K. Hamilton
This comic-book is the first one in a long series (as all comic books are...). It's a very grown-up series. (Apparently later books get VERY grown up with extremely racy and graphic scenes of violence and sex...just a warning, it's definitely not a book you want to leave laying around with kids in the house and even some adults might find it offensive...) Anyway, back to book 1. Graphic violence, vampire/zombie themes. The main character is the stereotypically drawn buxom woman. Much skin is shown. I found the first book somewhat confusing (all the men except for one, looked the same to me and I had trouble keeping all the characters straight). I also find comic book style difficult to read. I never know what I'm supposed to read next... The main character is a on the side of good but is a tortured soul who rides the line in this mythical vampire/human/zombie world. I'm not sure if I'll read any more of these, it just wasn't that fun of a read. I don't feel compelled to go get the next one.

Bulletproof Mascara by Bethany Maines
I listened to the unabridged version on audiobook. A woman adrift without a clear path for the future, Nikki Lanier stumbles into a job working for a worldwide cosmetics company only to learn that the company doubles as a spy agency. Going through the training camp and then through her first mission, it is slowly revealed that everything that seemed random is really all connected. There is good female camaraderie and a handsome stranger. There is guns and fight action and exotic locals. This is a new book that just came out and I'm sure it is slated to become a series. I'll be looking forward to the next installment.

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