Friday, April 23, 2010

APRIL 2010 READING - Book Review

I re-read (or actually listened to) a great Lord Peter Wimsey book. Seriously, I love this man. Dorothy Sayers did a superb job creating this brilliant and elegant (and wealthy) whodunit expert. Listening to it on tape is a real treat since the reader, Nadia May (aka Donada Peters and Wanda McCaddon), is English-born and has that perfect diction of to-the-manor born.

Have you any idea how difficult it would be to write a murder mystery? There is a lot of psychology involved, one would need to be very clever (and devious), a wordsmith, and of course a flat-out great story teller. Sayers has all this in spades. I can appreciate the skills it would take to write not just one great murder mystery but a whole series.

Sayers' writing is never dull and in, Whose Body, having the killer write pages and pages of why and how he/she did it was riveting. Written in 1923, this is Sayer's first Lord Peter Wimsey novel. So it is a good one to read if you haven't had the pleasure of reading any Wimsey novels before. My favorites are the Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane books--Vane is his true love. But really, any Wimsey book will do.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a French novel translated into English. Written by Muriel Barbery, a professor of philosophy, the story takes place in current times, in an upscale Paris apartment house. It is told from the perspective of two narrators: Renee, the 54-year old widowed concierge who works for the residences of the apartment, and Paloma, the intelligent 12 year old daughter of one of the wealthy families.

Renee works hard to hide the fact (hence the title) that she is an intellectual and Paloma is brilliantly working toward her goal of setting fire to the building and then committing suicide. I promise you it is not as bleak as it sounds. Things change when a new resident arrives. Basically, it is a lovely (and a bit of a tearjerker) story of three people who briefly tap into each others lives and make a difference. I very much enjoyed this book.

I quickly read Game Change about the 2008 Presidential elections--a bit of a downer given the behind the scene stories which unfortunately rang true.

I did enjoy Tough Choices by Carly Fiorina, former head of Hewlett-Packard and now a candidate for US Senator against Barbara Boxer in California. After reading her story, she's definitely tough enough to run against Boxer.

What are you reading?

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