Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Feminist Fables by Suniti Namjoshi (1981)

Just one of the books I picked out from the books left behind by Inese Jansons. These one to two page fables are a feminist stream of consciousness on the fairy tales, legends, fables from around the world. Most were familiar. Namjoshi doesn't necessarily try to retell the tale, just takes some aspect and comments on it.
  • The post Red Riding hood story written up as a case history: "Grandmother dead. Wolf not dead. Wolf marries mother. R. not happy..."  
  • If the princess was so sensitive that she felt the pea under all those mattresses, then she would probably be unbearably sensitive to everything.
  • The fisherman's wife of the guy with the three wishes really just wants a divorce.

Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts (2011)

I have to say this is one of the best Nora Roberts books I have read in a long time. She looks at a profession - smoke jumpers - that I was not aware of. These are the people that put out forest fires by jumping out of planes to get quickly right to the fire. A very dangerous and physically demanding job. I liked the camraderie in the group, and the details of the job. Of course this is a romance, so we have our love story between the main character - Rowan Tripp, a daughter of a smoke jumper and one of a few women on the team, and Gil Curry, a rookie smoke jumper who is fast on his feet, confident, comes from a successful family business, but is drawn to put our fires. (I am not sure why he started working as a fireman was ever addressed, but that is a small detail.) I liked the pace of this romance, as Rowan has a rule about not dating those she works with, plus she has trust issues, which I thought were handled well. But my favorite part of this romance was that there was middle-aged romance and intimacy - Rowan's father finds love too, and actually "gets some" before the young couple get together. Adding a mystery story-line always helps too. The story starts with Jim, one of the smoke jumpers making a mistake that costs his life. But the following summer his girlfriend's body is found, so there are cops milling about investigating. Good simple read.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Wish List by John Locke (2011)

Well, this was a strange book. Maybe it is the sign of the times, since we are moving away from in depth reading, maybe adult fiction is moving towards quick, intense reads. The 215 pages consisted of chapters 1 (yes one!) to 7 pages long. I found one chapter that was 8 pages, most ran 3-4 pages. I think most kids' book chapters run longer than that. 215 pages of fast, non-stop action. Then there were 20 pages before you get to the story itself, mostly promotion for his next novel, of which you get 2 chapters at the end of the book. This is supposedly a New York Times best selling author, who was the first to sell 1 million copies in e-books. So maybe this is the style for e-books. I don't get it.

The premise sounded like fun. There is an online program where you can enter your wishes, and they get granted, but there is a price. And I didn't even mind the raunchy guy talk of I would like to take so and so to bed. And Buddy Pancake was a likable character, loved his wife, hated his job, so I liked how his wishes started changing his life. But then it went into a lot of senseless killing. I have a hard enough time with murders in mysteries and spy novels and all those crime shows on TV, but this went beyond my tolerance level and not my idea of entertainment. Sorry Mr. Locke, I will not contribute to your further success. (Wasn't John Locke one of the strangest characters on the TV series "Lost"?)

The one thing this book made me think about was if I was given three or so wishes, what would they be? Mostly I think of the nebulous health and happiness for my son, family and friends. The rest of the things that come to mind seem like I can make them happen myself, if I set my mind to it - travel around the world, get someone to clean my house and redo my yard, have a meaningful conversation about reorganizing my work environment, create a foundation to support Latvian libraries and archives. What ARE my priorities?