Monday, October 1, 2012

Middle Sister Reads September

A potpourri of reading goodness:

Walk Off Weight by Michele Stanten Inspired by my medical physical in July and yearly check-up in September, I attempt to figure out why these stupid 8 lbs won't budge from my middle and what to do about them! Actually a really useful guide to getting yourself back on the healthy tract, this walking exercise program involves nothing more than a pair of good shoes. Additional ways to ramp up the exercise using an exercise band or poles are provided, as are some sample menus to eat healthier. Best part--lots of testimonials, with photos, from real women who participated in the study designed to test this program before it was published. That's always my favorite part of Prevention magazine--the inspiration provided by real women. We'll see if it helps my 8 lbs.  (borrowed from library, but on my Amazon wish list)

The Lightkeeper's Legacy by Kathleen Ernst The first in the Chloe Ellefson mystery series, this was another set in the modern past, before cell phones and Internet service had us all connected, all the time; in this case, 1982. Chloe is a curator who goes to Rock Island for a week to help formulate a preservation plan for an historic lighthouse. She's only there for a few hours when she finds a body. What follows is an interesting story that divides itself between Chloe's present, and the life of the wife of the last lightkeeper at the house in the 1870s and 1880s.  Murder and mayhem beset both women, although I confess the denouement of the historic murder took my by surprise and that of the contemporary murder did not. I confess right up front that this is the second recent book I've read when simultaneous stories were told like this, with a strong psychic link between the modern protagonist and the past, and I'm a little leery of this plot device. Just tell me the stories and draw connections between them--I'm tired of supposed emotive psychic connections. Despite that, I enjoyed this mystery quite a bit. (NetGalley.com, to be published October 2012)

Historic Doubts in the Life and Reign of King Richard the Third by Horace Walpole In light of the fascinating discovery of what may be the burial of King Richard III under the cloister floor in the razed Greyfriars Abbey, now covered by a modern carpark (I speak British English!), and being a closet Ricardian, I decided to read one of the earliest attempts to examine the supposed 'facts' about his reign and set the record straight. Only for diehard fans, like me. Lots of references to other historic works that I need to track down if I truly want to follow his argument. The lesser-inclined should just read the most excellent Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (if they can find a copy of the twenty-year-old printing without the missing chapter, which I can't, and which frustrates me terribly! That's the copy still sold to you if you buy it online. I may have to try again; the last time was two years ago, and I still got the bad copy, but maybe Amazon will have worked sales down to a pristine, and complete copy?), where a cogent argument defending Richard is made.

The Red Room by August Strindberg It's the centenary of Strinberg's death, and my 19th century novels reading group chose this as its September/October book. A satire, it touches on politics, publishing, theater, and some other topics, as observed by Arvid Falk over the course of one year. Amazingly prescient in today's political climate, I must say. It offers hope that we will suffer these fools, even if not gladly, and survive them. (Project Gutenberg e-book)

The Victoria Vanishes by Christopher Fowler I think I may just have a slight crush on both John May and Arthur Bryant, the elderly police detectives who investigate strange crimes for the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Someone is killing middle-aged secretaries in pubs, but of course, the crime and its solution are far more convoluted than that simple statement. Government conspiracies, coded messages from the killer, and missing cremains are just part of the plot. I was listening to this on my iPod Nano, and I think these might be better suited to read, rather than listen--there's so many clues and so much information that I re-listened to several chapter more than once. Yes, there's an element of 'psychicness' to this one as well, but it's more sophisticated than in the other books with that plot device, and is handled with a much more deft hand.

Okay, and I checked--I've been keeping a list of all the books I've read since sometime in 2002, and I'm not sure why I started, but my grand total is:

677

which works out to 5.7 books per month, but since that covers ten years, that means I really read way less than you, Big Sis. But don't feel bad--it's not a contest. It's really just about enjoying reading and opening your eyes and firing your imagination. And personally, I am proud that I have read certain things I never thought I would and would enjoy (like Anna Karenina) as well as duds that left me cold (like two of my book club selections I never did finish). Long Live Reading!


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