Friday, April 18, 2008

Good, Quick Reads

I'm like an addict who doesn't know where her next hit will come from! Michael Connelly's The Overlook ended so quickly that I was only half way through my yard work Thursday morning when I suddenly found myself without another book to turn to on the MP3. I raced into the house and began trying to download anything that looked halfway acceptable but I got one of those frustrating messages about a "license being expired." What? I don't think so. Several emails later I've been given some possible things to do to "fix" this. They better work!

The latest Harry Bosch was shorter than most but just as riveting for all that. Len Cariou IS Harry. When I hear his voice I feel as though I'm hearing from a crusty old pal. What made this book even more fun was that Maryellen and I were in the audience at the Sarasota Reading Festival when Connelly introduced the idea for his latest thriller; the theft from a hospital lab of a container of highly toxic, radioactive sesium, used in the treatment of certain cancers. A murder ensues and Harry thinks for one moment that he may have an open and shut case but things are never that simple with Bosch. Suddenly the FBI is all over it and Harry is reunited with his former lover, Rachel Walling.

I enjoy Michael Connelly's Bosch series for many reasons, not the least of which is that Harry has grown in introspection and dimension as the years have progressed. Connelly also manages to get a few subtle political jabs in. This time, there was a red herring that threw a kink in the investigation, the result of post 9/11 paranoia and distrust of all Middle Easterners.

I was thoroughly enjoying Sue Miller's The Senator's Wife when I received another packet from my editor at Library Journal. Ouch! Another 400 page book to be read and reviewed by the 29th. Delia, the very interesting and complicated wife of the senator, had to take a back seat but I can't wait to pick her up again. This novel would make a good discussion book for a group that doesn't mind opening up. It shines a fascinating light on what constitutes a "good marriage," and why such high profile marriages like those of the Kennedys and Clintons have managed to stand the test of time.

At work I'm finishing up Marguerite Duras's The Lover because the movie is a favorite of Don's and I recently read some blurb about Duras's life that piqued my interest. I had no idea that the video was based on a fictionalized version of her own young adulthood in Saigon where she became the consort of an older, very wealthy Chinese man, shocking her family even as they bled him dry. The writing style is naturally a bit dated and off-putting but it's a tiny little book by a devilishly clever and sophisticated young woman and it's worth the read just for the new introduction by Maxine Hong Kingston.

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