I finished several books in January and February for which I never got around to writing reviews. I’ve gotta get some of these back to the library, so let’s get the reviews taken care of…
I liked Edna Ferber’s So Big . I think I’d have liked it even more as an angst-ridden teen; not sure how I missed this one back then. I’d never even heard of it until a friend mentioned it recently. It’s got a bit of that Gatsby-type realism from the early 20th century, but not nearly as depressing as Gatsby or Sister Carrie. 4 out of 5 stars.
I *loved* Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring when I read it last year. I read the book, saw the movie, then read the book again. (NOTE: the movie is better if you’ve read the book so you can mentally fill in all the stuff they left out). So I decided I’d enjoy some of her other books, and picked up Falling Angels. Disappointing. Depressing. Weirdly feminist and anti-feminist at the same time (a main character is a suffragette). 2.5 stars. Can I do that?
Susan Elizabeth Phillips is my guilty pleasure. Her latest is Call Me Irresistible. Clever dialogue and almost ridiculous characters make for fun reading. A little, ahem, steamy romance thrown in. Excellent, if you like that sort of thing. 5 stars.
I needed a distraction to get my mind off
cancer things. So I picked up A Secret and Unlawful Killing which was still sitting on the bookshelf after my first abortive attempt at reading it. You know, it had similarities to its prequel, My Lady Judge, but it wasn’t as derivative as I’d thought it would be based on the first couple of chapters. But I admit I was left wondering how anybody will be left alive in the burren after the 5th book, since the bodies keep piling up…! It was entertaining enough – 3.5 stars.
This one appealed to me because Gracie is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills. The chapters were a little disjointed, as the author switched back and forth between narrative stories about the rescued dogs, and the legal and political maneuverings used to fight the puppy mill trade. But I still highly recommend it if you are a dog lover. It will really make you stop and think about where you get your next dog. 4 stars.
I thought Jacqueline Novogratz’s The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World would be about ways to, well, Bridge the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World. It’s actually more of an autobiography. She’s got some experience; she worked with poor women in Rwanda before
anybody had heard of Rwanda the genocide, among other places. What I liked about the book is that her solution isn’t to throw more money at the problem, it’s to use the aid money smarter, specifically using market-based solutions. 4 stars, if you’re into books about saving the world.
More on saving the world: The Pursuit of Ecotopia: Lessons from Indigenous and Traditional Societies for the Human Ecology of Our Modern World. Indigenous people good, Western civilization people bad. Really, what did I expect? I can’t count this liberal screed in my 52 in 52, as I couldn’t finish it. 1 star, based on what I did read. (How unfair. Maybe the last 3/4 of the book is simply excellent?)
More tomorrow. I read a trilogy!