Sunday, September 05, 2010

More Summer 2010 Books

One of these was buried on my bedside table and didn't make it into the last books write-up. The other two I read in the last couple of weeks.

A Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenberg
a memoir

I stumbled across Molly Wizenburg's food blog, Orangette, years ago and was immediately hooked on her writing. It wasn't all about the food, yet the food was integral to each story. I was thrilled to hear she had been chosen to write a regular column for Bon Appetit, since I subscribe to it anyway. I was not disappointed with the columns, each ends with a recipe, but starts with a story, pretty much like her blog.

I knew (from her blog) that she'd been working on a book and finally remembered to buy it. I devoured it. The subtitle is "stories and recipes from my kitchen table" and it has the same delightful touch as the rest of her writing. She starts by introducing her family, pairing each, relatively short chapter with a food or recipe. The end of each chapter has one or more recipes, each written so clearly and with such friendliness that I have no doubt that I could make each and every one successfully.

But this isn't just about the recipes. Any reader of this memoir is granted a gentle view of her life, from childhood to present. Have I used the word "delightful" yet? I see I did, but I have no other word that so aptly describes how I find this book. It is a quick read, and one where an occasional phrase just MUST be shared with people around you. Such as this one:

"It's just that my mother and I have had decades to sync up our priorities. They are as follows: eat, walk, eat, walk, window shop, window shop, and then walk to dinner. As you might guess, we do especially well in France."

How can you NOT want to find out where the rest of that chapter leads you?

Magic Bleeds, by Ilona Andrews
A Kate Daniels Novel, fantasy

Like many series, this is probably not the book to start with, but it does have all the regular characters from previous books. Kate and other residents of Atlanta live through waves of magic that cause tech to fail, and waves of tech that cause magic to fail. They have local trouble-makers enough, but someone new is in town -- a big, bad someone bringing death and plagues.

Kate's investigation leads her to uncover more than even she bargained for. And it doesn't help that she is struggling with her personal life too.

This is a fast-moving, entry in this series and one of the better ones. Kate is sure of herself (mostly) and is surrounded by other characters equally sure of themselves. The stage is set for some fierce struggles.

The High Priest and the Idol, by Jane Fletcher
Lyremouth Chronicles: Book 4, fantasy

I ran the first three books in this series in 2009 and when I saw there was a fourth I decided, "why not?" I'm glad I did because I enjoyed this a lot more than the last one. The earlier books work to set up the relationship between the two main characters and also the response of their world to their relationship. The last book was tedious and heavy on the melancholy.

This book presents the two main characters as quite sure of themselves. It made it a pleasure to read of their adventures. The other thing I liked about this book is that the "getting from here to there" bits were omitted. If the story wasn't advanced by travails of getting from one part of the world to another, the story skips ahead to the end of the schlep. A definite improvement. There were also some nice twists to the story.

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