03/2013

These are the books I read in March, 2013 –

I read 17 books this month – including 7 crime novels,  4 non-fiction (1 classic),  and 6 general fiction (1 classic).    Crime is rated on a scale of A – F,   other works on a scale of 1-10.  Also – 5 women authors,  12 men and 8 US authors, 9 non-US with 2 translated works.

Crime novels:

ALL CRY CHAOS
Leonard Rosen
B+
There was an interesting little math aspect to this book – I’d advise to get a print version for the graphics.

THE PREACHER
Camilla Lackberg
B-
There were too many weirdo characters in a single family.  This story was very complex,  but something caught me because I’m continuing with the next in the series and enjoying it so far.   There seems to be a distinct pattern of revisiting the past history of some characters for motives or something.

RESURRECTION MEN
Ian Rankin
A
Fast paced,  interesting plot lines,   good main characters.  Rankin was mildly interesting,  working with Siobhan made him better.  Really not likely to continue with the Rankin books.

THE FALLEN ANGEL
Daniel da Silva
D –  a heavily politicized,  poorly executed Dan Brown (and one Brown was quite enough).

YOU’RE NEXT
Gregg Horwitz
A+
Excellent use of high suspense,  fast pace,  and some curious twists to the plot.  Totally stand-alone.

EYE OF THE RED TSAR
Sam Eastland
A
This is a good historical crime novel of the Stalin era with a back-story to the last days of the Tsar.  I like Pekkala, the Finnish detective. Eastland has him in a series.

THE COLD DISH
Craig Johnson
C
This was just an okay book to me although the resolution was good.    I’ll likely not read more of this series.  I think I may be kind of picky about protagonists if I have to follow them for a series.

***************

Also read 4 Non-fiction:

JEFFERSON: THE ART OF POWER 
Jon Meacham,
8.5
Meacham’s written pretty much the same thing as in  prior biographies – well written. –

BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS
Katherine Boo
9
Interesting and “creative non-fiction”  in that Boo incorporates several devices of fiction –  it’s definitely a non-fiction book,  though.  Kind of like Reality TV in India’s slums.

JEFFERSON: AUTHOR OF AMERICA
Christopher Hitchens
9
A biographical essay more than a whole biography.  Hitchens gives more space to TJ’s time in France which I appreciated.

THE THIRTY YEARS WAR 
C.V.  Wedgwood,
9
A classic  (1939),  if dated,  andwonderfully well-written book about the incredibly complex,  way too long, and brutally horrendous Thirty Years War.   The author was writing with the ideas of the Great Depression and the coming of WWII  on her mind – acknowledged in the Introduction.

*********************

And 6 general fiction with one classic:

HULLABALOO IN THE GUAVA ORCHARD
Kiran Desai
7
An okay book,  more young adult perhaps,  very funny though. –

THE HUMAN COMEDY 
William Saroyan,
9.5
A classic (1943) ,  warm and endearing tale without being saccharine in any way,  maybe a touch of nostalgia and bittersweet instead.  This is life in Ithaca (Fresno CA) during WWII.

HHhH
Lauren Binet
9.5   A very literary retelling of the historical events surrounding the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich,  a WWII Nazi leader.

A DISTANT SHORE
Caryl Phillips,
8.5
The story of two isolated people in northern England,  one from war-time Africa,  the other from her own troubles in England.

FEASTING, FASTING
Anita Desai
9
Indian family with two girls and one boy,  the girls get marriage (or try) and the boy goes to college in America.  Three very,  very different outcomes for these young people.   Interesting comparison of life in India to that in the US.

THE CHEMISTRY OF TEARS
Peter Carey
8
story of a woman who works in a museum obsessed by grief while she and her assistant struggle to put an automaton from the 19th century together.  Varying chapters of the notebooks from the man who commissioned the automaton .

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