Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Middle Sister's December Books

Happy new year, happy readers!  December was not bad, as far as books go. A smorgasbord of different genres, all interesting.

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner Want to live to be 100? This book, written for the general public, distills some recent research into centenarians and what strategies they share in common despite living in  different places around the globe. Okinawa, Sardinia, the Nicoya peninsula, and Loma Linda, CA, populations were investigated. Results: physical work/exercise, lots of fruits and vegetables, remaining an active part of your community, and maintaining a sense of spirituality all contribute by alleviating stress, providing a sense of purpose, and maintaining health and fitness. An easy prescription, but one that is perhaps not so easy to incorporate in our 21st century lives.

The Hoarder in You by Robin Zasio Nope, not a hoarder here, but I heard the author interviewed on the radio and she was talking about clutter, and clutter I got. So I read the book to see if there were any tips that would help me get this house in order and keep it so this new year. I was a bit ashamed to find that I fall partly into three of her categories: Clean and Clear, Neat but Dynamic, and Controlled Chaos. Yikes, better throw some stuff out right quick!

Archie Meets Nero Wolfe by Robert Goldsborough The latest in the continuing saga of Nero Wolfe, written with permission from Rex Stout's estate. Ever wondered how the wise-cracking Archie Goodwin met the beer-swilling, orchid-loving, gourmand Nero Wolfe? Using clues from the various Stout novels, Goldsborough has concocted a reasonable mystery that introduces the pair to each other, and a beautiful friendship began. Read this from NetGalley, and enjoyed it. I really should read all the original Nero Wolfes in order.

The Agency 3: The Traitor in the Tower by Y.S. Lee Although categorized a YA novel, my library had this e-book listed in adult mystery. And I must say, today's YA readers are not the YA reader I was. Sure, I read Battle for Dunkirk and the Red Badge of Courage at the age this is aimed at, but I would never have wanted to read about "undisguised hunger" and other quite adult themes. I guess I am stuck in some non-existent, rose-colored fairy land where 10-year-olds have no idea what kind of hunger the main character was experiencing. Anyway, overall, a fun, quick read, with a fairly engaging main character, who is really a 21st-century girl in a Victorian dress stage play. That's my real gripe. The character doesn't act like a 19th century girl, but a 21st century girl. And while I was soundly rebuffed online when discussing this book with the rejoinder that "modern girls wouldn't be interested in an accurate portrayal of Victorian girlhood," I disagree. I would have, at 12. And there are other YA series that do a better job of having the character be just modern enough to pique the reader's sympathy without completely misrepresenting the past. Heck, market it as a steampunk, or alternative history, or fantasy, but don't sell it as a solid historical unless it's accurate. Might make a 12-year-old reader really glad she's alive in 2013 and not 1880.

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