Okay, I was weak. I hadn’t had a Jane Austen fix lately so I brought this book by Jill Pitkeathly on vacation with me. I knew it wasn’t going to be Jane Austen writing, but sometimes it’s just enough to have her in the novel.
But quite frankly, this was very interesting. The book is about the entire Austen clan, and in particular their cousin Eliza, who was married to a French count (who was later beheaded during the revolution) and later married Jane’s brother. I enjoyed it because it was written letter style, from Eliza to Jane to Cassandra and all the brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and a really nasty cousin too.
This book has all the characters, the historical background and gives some insight into the Napoleonic wars, which was distinctly absent in any of Austen’s books. But mainly it was an excuse to read about Jane and I’m glad I gave in. Long may she live!
Sharon Draper’s new children’s fiction book Out of My Mind has an interesting voice, that of an 11 year-old girl who cannot speak. Melody cannot eat without help, or move on her own. She was born with cerebral palsy, but it has definitely not affected her mind. She has a photographic memory and loves words and music. She absorbs everything in her environment, but most people never know that. It is not until her care aide in Grade 5 lobbies for her to be granted a talking computer that Melody can share her amazing self with the world. This is a beautifully written book which will leave the reader looking at disabled people in a totally new way.
Outrageous, funny, gutsy, disgusting, tales of ethical dilemmas. All these descriptors could be used to explain why Joe R. Lansdale is a must read.
Set in the steamy backwoods of 1930s Texas Sunset and Sawdust relates the tale of Sunset who having murdered her husband the Town Sheriff, takes his place as the law and order of a company lumber town. Follow her as she deals with the case of her husband’s mistress and baby both found dead and covered in oil on a black man’s land. Can she trust the beautiful man who arrives from nowhere, becomes her deputy and catches the eye of both her and her daughter.
If you listen to the audio book of Lansdales’s ‘Vanilla Ride’ you are in for a real treat. Phil Gigante’s Texas lilt evokes the world of Hap and Leonard; best friends and a mix matched team who can’t help find trouble wherever they go. This book takes you on a roller coaster ride never to be forgotten as a good deed for a friend leads to the most dangerous assassin in the south out to get them.
I must admit I am not a westerns fan. I do like the occasional old Clint Eastwood movie and not much else in this genre, but because this book won the Governor General’s Prize, I thought I would have a go. It is really, really good. The story is set in the old west, but you could take these two main characters, that are hired killers, and put them in any setting or era, and still have a great book.
Written by Patrick DeWitt, the story is told by Eli Sister who is a gentle giant of a man, a philosopher of sorts, and yet, a hired gun. He and his brother Charlie (the tough guy) are in the employment of the Commodore, a ruthless character with lots of power and money, who sends the boys out to kill Hermann Warm (I loved the names the author makes up) who has stolen something valuable from him.
The story takes place in Oregon and California in the 1850s. During their hunt for the thief, they come across a number of odd people and have adventures, making this literary ride really special. Eli begins to wonder about his life and this is best illustrated by his respect for an old horse named Tub. The horse should have been put down, but Eli can’t seem to do it. He doesn’t give up on the horse, much as he doesn’t give up on the hope for a life that’s different than what he’s had. I mean the man all of a sudden realizes how important brushing your teeth is! This is generally not what we expect from a killer – and what makes this book so enjoyable – the surprises that come from ordinary things.
There are a number of funny scenes, but I found this book to be more about wounded souls, the special bond between brothers and the harshness of the old west. I understand that John C. Reilly has purchased the rights to make a movie – so read the book now because, as in most cases, the book is always better than the film.
Your comments on this book are welcome!
It is 1932, and the Great Depression is hurting everyone in Canada. Sisters Maud and Polly have been living in poverty with their single father in Winnipeg. When he is reported dead, they are sent to live with a grandmother they do not know. Grandmother lives on a Gulf Island near Victoria, and Maud is happy that she will be able to go to a boarding school instead of having to leave school and go to work. 10 year-old Polly is overcome with grief and missing her sister. And then there is the secret the girls have promised to keep.
How will Polly ever manage to keep quiet without Maud there to remind her? Governor General Award winning children’s author Kit Pearson has not published since 2007, and it has been worth the wait!
Your comments are welcome.