Finished a bunch of books lately, some on CD during vacation, some in "real" book-form. Here's a quickie disclosure in the interest of making the online log complete:
#27: Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde. Funny, cute, the perfect book on CD for a literate group traveling long distances by car! Time traveling detective Thursday Next works for the literary police, keeping order in literature. Up against the evil Goliath Corp, which is in the process of turning itself into a religion, she tries to get her husband back. Oh yeah, he was eradicated from the time stream. Oh, and she's being stalked by an assasin: The Windowmaker. Yeah, she should have been called the Widowmaker, but her business cards were printed incorrectly! And Thursday is still looking for the escaped Minotaur, and waiting to hear what will happen to her for changing the ending to Jane Eyre...... Absurd, funny, worth the time!
#28: Higher by Neal Bascomb. Nonfiction. Account of the race to build the tallest skyscraper in New York in the late 1920's. A wonderful picture of the era. You know the crash is coming, but the race goes on. How Walter Chrysler (of the Chrysler Building) and young financier George Ohrstrom (of the Manhatten Bank Building) competed to be tallest--only to be overshadowed, in the end, by Al Smith and the Empire State Building.
#29: Close to Home by Peter Robinson. An Inspector Banks murder mystery. Bones from a 1965 murder are found--one of Banks' childhood pals. Reopening the mystery takes him back to those days--and he finds things he never dreamed existed at the time. At the same time he is investigating the death of another teenager in current time. And juggling feelings toward 2 women police officers. OK, but not great. And way too explicit.
#30: Code to Zero by Ken Follett. 1958. Space Race. Cold War. A man wakes up dirty and hungover in a bathroom in Union Station. Amnesia. How he finds out who he is and foils a plot by the KGB to sabotage the American space program is the gist of the book. Pretty decent evocation of the 40's and 50's. Not Follett's best, but good enough.
#31: Bellwether by Connie Willis. Sandra Foster studies trends, and is intrigued by Dr. Bennett O'Reilly--a chaos theorist who is the least trendy person she's ever met. The plot involves stupid corporate moves, a flock of sheep, and an assistant named Flip--the ultimate incompetent worker and chaos maker. Very sweet and funny love story.
#32: Sister of My Heart by Chitra Divakaruni. My book group's reading selection for this month. A wonderful book. The story of two girl cousins born on the same day, in the same house to widowed mothers. Their closeness, their loves, their disappointments, their attempts to break free of the societal expectations for high caste Indian girls. Though their bond is strained after their marriages (both arranged), they are bound so closely together that they save each other. Through losses big and small, it is the sisterly love that bridges the gaps.
#33: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. This book has been on my shelf literally for YEARS, but I had never read it. I was impressed. This is Bradbury's fantasy about the colonization of Mars. Reads like any conquest of a "foreign land" with disregard for the existing civilization, mass extermination of the indigenous population by something harmless to the colonists (in this case chicken pox). Earth sends lots of people over time, but most return to Earth for the final devastating war that ends life on Earth as we know it. It ends with the recolonization of Mars by the few who escaped the conflagration--beginning again.....