Monday, December 9, 2019

One Two Buckle My Shoe

Fiction by Agatha Christie
In this story, Hercule Poirot, famous detective, goes to the dentist. Oh no! Will someone be murdered there? Yes, I think so!

I also read recently by this author: Hercule Poirot's Christmas

Friday, December 6, 2019

We Must Be Brave

Fiction by Frances Liardet

Oh, this was a lovely story!

At the beginning there is Ellen, living in a small English village in 1940 trying to cope with various war evacuees. Ellen finds a motherless little girl called Pamela and takes the child in, although she has told her husband from the beginning of her marriage that she doesn't want children, knowing that he cannot physically father any. When her husband protests, Ellen explains slightly scornfully, "I don't want children. I want Pamela."

This story resonated with me a good deal. A mother's love is an amazing and fierce love, a very personal love of a particular human child. It doesn't matter how many children she has, a mother loves each one for him or herself. That is why it's ridiculous for people to say, in the terrible event of a loss, "Well, at least she has other children. She won't miss that one." But she will. She will always miss that one.

I'm getting a little maudlin with this description, but this book really affected me emotionally. It is not a war story, or a thriller, which I think maybe the negative reviewers I read on b& were disappointed by. It's a life story instead. I loved it.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Murder 101

Fiction by Maggie Barbieri

This is a light mystery about a woman who teaches at a small college and stumbles into a murder case. I liked it some, but I had trouble really being interested in the characters.

Still, the story was pretty good.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

Fiction by Agatha Christie

A rich and rather crotchety old man decides to gather his family for Christmas, including in the party his two estranged sons, his two faithful stay-at-home sons, and a long-lost grand-daughter. Then just to spice things up a bit more, he decides to tell everyone he's about to change his will. Is anyone surprised when this rich old man gets murdered?

Oh, but which one of them did it? Only Hercule Poirot knows....

I also read recently by this author: Murder is Easy

Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Guardians

Fiction by John Grisham

I'll call it a legal thriller because that's the official Grisham genre, but this novel is much more "legal" than "thriller." This is the way John Grisham's books have been going recently, it seems. It's not necessarily bad, but it's not very thrilling either.

This story is about a lawyer who tries to help wrongly convicted people get out of prison, which sounds amazingly noble and (frankly) kind of hopeless. I mean, first you've got to find a prisoner who was actually innocent (sifting him out of all the others in prison who just claim they are innocent), and then you've got to get the government to admit that they made a mistake. And we know that no one likes to admit they made a mistake, especially not a bureaucrat. So this seems like a tough job.

I know that there are such people, both the wrongly convicted and the lawyers who defend them, but there sure aren't very many. There just can't be.

This story was pretty good; I liked the main character and the case was interesting. But this was not a thriller.

I also read recently by this author: The Reckoning

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Perfect Husband

Fiction by Lisa Gardner

Jim Beckett thinks he is the perfect husband and demands that Theresa be the perfect wife for him in return. Except he's actually an abusive psycho and a serial killer...

This thriller novel is pretty good but not great. It's an early release of Lisa Gardner's (more than twenty years old) that they have re-released because she is more popular now. This is really more of a romance story with the psycho killer business thrown in, rather than a mystery thriller with romance thrown in.

I've liked some of Lisa Gardner's books and disliked some; this one I'd say 75% like 25% disliked? I don't think I have a thumb for that.

I also read recently by this author: Crash and Burn, Fear Nothing 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

On Wings of Eagles

Nonfiction by Ken Follett.

What do you know about Ross Perot? All I personally knew before reading this book was about his failed election campaign of 1992. I was in college at that time, and mostly I remember my Republican relatives blaming Perot for the fact that Bill Clinton had been elected. (I don't think this is completely unfair, either; the fact is that he split the conservative vote by running against the party nominee, and he should have known it was impossible to win without a major party nomination.) At the time Perot was a bit of a comic figure, a billionaire who thought he could be president, and failed to win.

Well, this book is all about something I DIDN'T know about Perot. He was a bit of a bad-ass, apparently. In 1978, Perot's company was working with the Shah of Iran on a government computerization project when a couple of his employees got caught in the political crossfire of a revolution and ended up in Iranian jail with an exorbitant bail/ransom price-tag on their heads. Perot was determined to get them out, and this book is the story of how that happened.

I also read recently by this author: Triple

Warning! Long parenthetical aside about classification: (I couldn't decide whether to categorize this book as fiction or nonfiction. I'v read most of Ken Follet's books, and most of them are fiction, although many are based on true historical events. This one, however, is about rather recent history, and the author explicitly states in the beginning that everything written in it is true to the best of his knowledge, and not a novelization. Still, I was unsure. I had listened to the story on audiobook, and so I did not have a paper copy to refer to, and the record referenced above did not classify one way or the other. I decided to try to settle the question by checking to see if the library categorized the book as fiction and filed by author's name, or if they had assigned it a Dewey Decimal number and marked it as nonfiction. Interestingly, my local library system had a record of several copies of this book, and about half of them were filed under fiction, and half under nonfiction. So the library didn't know what to do either!)