Reading has always been one of my favorite pastimes. The past month has been a great time to add to my growing e-book reader library (and stay up until 2 a.m. because I can’t stand not to finish a mystery)! The e-book provides instant gratification because I get to buy the newest bestsellers. Not the cheapest way to build a library but I’m saving all of that money I used to spend on nails and hair.
One of my favorites is American Dirt, which has been on the New York Times best-seller list. There was controversy about the book, but I approached it as I would any other fictional novel. The story is riveting and also punctuated with moments of great treachery, bravery and sadness. A woman flees a drug cartel in Mexico with her young son after her entire family is slaughtered. My problem was that the conflict that precipitated the slaughter could have been anticipated. Following the two on their journey took me into places I have never imagined and met the goal of compelling fiction.
One of my least favorites was Broken Glass by Alex Beam. Expecting an interesting account of Mies van der Rohe and his spectacular Farnsworth House, I instead found the book hard to follow as it jumped disjointedly through van der Rohe’s life and career. The glass house itself captured my imagination but not my interest. Dr. Edith Farnsworth disappointed me when she let the cost of the house spiral out of control and only objected at the end. I don’t think she got what she wanted, even at twice the cost.
What’s a book review without a good mystery? Of course, a new Sara Paretsky is hard to pass up. Dead Land is her new VI Warshanski novel. I have read all of her books, even though I often have issues with VI’s supernatural abilities and her self-righteousness. She blunders into a disturbing scene and takes on a mystery driven by a homeless woman and her tragic past. Refusing big bucks, she begins investigating what may have been a targeted shooting at a mass killing. Before long she is in the middle of the government’s interference in South American politics. Her niece Bernie is featured in the role of the idealistic young person trying to help but often hindering. Her long-suffering downstairs neighbor is still there to take care of the dogs and help out where needed. It’s a good read for a long day.
And then somehow I found myself going back to an author I have always loved, John Lescroart. Guilt is one of his older books, but it was new to me. At 500 pages I knew I would be up late for several nights and I was. It was fascinating. A true lawyer vs. client vs. police story. A very nasty client that starts out as the best guy ever. Wes Farrell is his best friend-turned-lawyer and becomes progressively disturbed as he realizes the truth about his client. But he still has to win the case.
After all of the mysteries I was ready for some beach reading. Elin Hildebrand’s Winter in Paradise was perfect. Still some mystery, but most of all a family’s acceptance of secrets and lies and how to live in the future rather than the imperfect past which once seemed perfect.
Other books I have loved are anything by Donna Leon and her mystery series in Venice. Elizabeth George is one of my favorite authors, along with Ruth Rendell, Louise Penny, John Sanford — with either Lucas Davenport or Virgil Flowers as the main character. John Grisham, our own Virginia author, is always good. I have his latest, Camino Winds, ready to download.
Hope everyone has a happy, healthy summer and enjoys some good times both in and out and always with a book!