Maira's Books

In January of 2005 I started this blog as a record of books I’ve read as I was afraid I would forget what I have read. I have often referred back to my own blog to remember a book's contents or see what I have read by an author. I have enjoyed passing my books on to friends or recommending books to read. I know I have missed recording some, but in general I try to keep up with what I have read or listened to.

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Location: Kalamazoo, MI, United States

I am a librarian at Waldo Library at Western Michigan University.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Unwanted by Kristina Ohlsson (2009)

Translated from Swedish 2011

I had such a good time reading Stieg Larsson’s Girl with a Dragon Tattoo before it became popular in the U.S., I thought I would ask the Stockholm bookstore worker for a suggestion for the next good book from Sweden that has been translated into English. She gave me a choice of two detective novels and I chose the one written by a woman. It had a Stieg Larsson feel, with unusual detective work, abusive childhoods and quite deep evil, maybe not the energy I was looking for, but engaging enough that I have completed the book the day after purchasing it.

We get many people’s intertwined stories – both personal and professional. We meet the criminal in the first page, but don’t find out who he is until the very end. Then we meet witnesses of the first crime, slowly we meet all the detectives and related police staff, the families of the victims, those associated with the criminal. It ends up being a richly woven story of varied lives and relationships. My favorite is Frederika, possibly modeled on the author’s own experience, if I understood correctly from the acknowledgements in the back, of her work as a civilian working together with police and detectives. Fredrika is educated and can put together a lot of details, not just look at the most obvious suspect. She wants to keep emotion out of her job and is criticized by her male colleagues for not having enough gut feelings for the job. Obviously, she proves them wrong, but it is interesting to watch the process and as they become a team. I also liked her solution to her personal life – not ideal, but one way of living. Other characters were dealing with various family problems too. The hardest was to read about the crimes against the children. When the book was suggested to me, she said it was scary, and that was true, but in crime novels there is a crime, just like thrillers have their share of shooting. In small doses good reads.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

One Summer by David Baldacci (2011)

I really needed an easy read for a day on the trains in Germany, so this was one of the few books available at the Muenster train station. Baldacci is one of my favorite authors, but this was not his usual fare. I would almost call it a romance from the male perspective, but I guess it would be also just considered a modern family romance full of tragedy, determination, a family falling apart and coming together. 

Jack is a former soldier with a debilitating terminal illness. As he readies to say goodbye to his dear wife Lizzie and his family, she dies in a car crash. His three children are divided up amongst relatives. Somewhere he finds the strength to get well and pull his family together in Lizzie’s family home on the South Carolina shore. A good crying book.