Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vacation Catch-Up

I have been warming myself in a state with an actual summer, but due to a strange digital architecture, I was unable to blog.  This means that the network connection from my bed was poor.  This seemed to be an enforced vacation maneuver, since everywhere else in the room was fine; just not the bed.  I took it as a sign.

But I kept reading!  So here are five books that I've read, to start to make up for the ten days without reports from me.  I read them all on my NOOK; all but the last were borrowed from the library.

  1. Over the Edge (Troubleshooters #3), by Suzanne Brockmann.  Since I liked half of the Brockmann's I read before, I thought I'd give this ebook a try.  It was a bit too long but readable, with rather silly romance misunderstandings mixed in with rough, tough anti-terrorist plot action.  The main romance was easier to take; although the helicopter pilot and the tough Sergeant kept misunderstanding each other, they had fairly solid reasons for not talking to each other, at least for the first 50 or so pages.  She's young but vulnerable and thinks he thinks she's just a kid.  He's older and uglier, and thinks she wants someone closer to her age.  The secondary romance was more annoying -- the couple disliked each other but were wildly attracted until they suddenly realized it was TRUE LOVE, and then a foolish pregnancy subplot ruined everything.  A final historical subplot also annoyed and bored me -- a Danish maid and the son of her Jewish employers fall in love, but his parents disapprove because they are BAD.  I probably won't look for more books by Brockmann, although maybe I'll try her gay short story because if the romance is all men I won't have to worry about a stupid pregnancy plot twist.
  2. The Cardturner, by Louis Sacher.  This is a love story and a ghost story about bridge (the card game).  It's a good thing that I've always liked Sacher's books, because otherwise I doubt I would have touched it with a ten foot pole, but I trusted the author and he delivered.  I liked watching the hero become fascinated with bridge tricks, although I found his family more of a caricature than characters.  I've recommended it to my bridge playing friends.
  3. Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated, by Alison Arngrim.  I seem to have stumbled into an appreciation of celebrity memoirs, but although the writing wasn't as smooth as Steve Martin's this story of growing up in a Hollywood family, most happily on the set of Little House on the Prairie was also entertaining.  Arngrim is matter-of-fact about some of the unsavory parts of her story, mostly based around her family, and amusing when she described the bizarre interactions she had with fans of the show, who usually hated her.  At the end, she's proud of using her childhood fame to help strengthen laws against child abuse, a very personal cause.
  4. Weekends at Bellevue, by Julie Holland.  Once I got over my culture shock in the first paragraphs (I picked the book because I remembered seeing in on a "local interest" table at a book store, but the Bellevue is not the nearby small city but New York's crazy hospital) I found this memoir gruesomely fascinating.  Holland does a good job describing the variety of people who end up, by choice or circumstance, at the emergency room of her mental hospital (she ran the ER on weekends for many years).  I found the personal descriptions of her life more distancing; I don't think I'd want her for my physician or possibly my neighbor, but neither of those seem likely. 
  5. Ghost Ship, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.  Another piece of the Liadan story, with all the usual strengths and weaknesses.  The plot lines for Theo Waitley, Clan Korval, and mysterious technology bits come together with a fun page-turning eagerness, but I wish for a greater sense of jeopardy -- too often strange coincidences save all our favorite characters, who are all guaranteed true love and happiness.  I was set to love the ending, but then the final pages left all in doubt again.  Hey -- last book in the series (for now) -- that's a 20/11 Challenge category.


kmitcham said...

I missed your updates

Beth said...

The cockles of my heart are warmed.