Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer is for Reading

Over the last four weeks I was able to squeeze in three books. First on the docket is Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. May I begin my saying I envy her life? Or at least her address book. She was born of Polish parents in Germany and raised in London. She now splits her time between Delhi and New York. This Booker Prize winning novel catalogs the life of two women, fifty years apart. The novel is set in India and centers around the life of Olivia, the wife of an English civil servant. Her story is told by the Douglas' (the civil servant) granddaughter as she traces Olivia's steps. The novel slowly develops parallel life lines for these two women, but with very different outcomes.

Love it, I did not; however, I found that Merchant and Ivory made a film based on the novel and I quickly added it to my NetFlix queue.

The next selection is The House at Riverton by Kate Morton. Oh how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways: poorly written...she had a thing about "sweaty kitchen smells" that were meant to be someone's dinner, overly long with a plot that went NO WHERE, and an ending that many of my eighth graders could have written. Add to the fact that she stole the majority of the life below stairs from "Upstairs, Downstairs", and you are left with a very unimaginative mystery that was less than satisfying.
But now my favorite. And I really needed this one. Coming home from my two week vacation has been very difficult. Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas really helped. Hennie Comfort is a woman we all wish we knew. Her name truly says it all. Granted, the quilting references get to be a bit tiresome. I am convinced that Sandra Dallas must be an avid quilter - anyone remember The Persian Pickle Club? And there are certain elements of the plot line that tie up a bit too slick. But honestly, you want them to. You need them to. This one is next month's book club pick and I am a bit miffed that the hostess 'broke' our rule - we are to stick to paperback. I am not exactly thrilled I had to pay $24. 95 minus my Barnes and Noble discount for a two day read. But I did love it and it cheered me up.

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