Book #6: Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini. Sabatini is often mentioned in the same breath with Samuel Shellabarger. He writes swashbucklers. And I don't mean that as a bad thing, though I'm quite certain some would. Scaramouche is the story of Andre-Louis, the bastard son of someone (you don't find out whose until the very end). Trained as a lawyer through the graces of the loving godfather who took him in as a babe, he goes through a harrowing event with his best friend--a minister who believes in the ideals of the French Revolution. At his death, Andre-Louis vows revenge on his killer. From there we go through his trials as an actor, a fencing master and a political operative. Excellent read--fun and satisfying. I'm sure the plot holes are big enough to drive a truck through, but Sabatini moves the story along so well that you don't really care.
Book #7: Death by Hollywood by Stepehn Bochco. Yeah, the Stephen Bochco from television. A cleverly plotted book, with acid-tongued takes on Hollywood and its folks. WAY, WAY too much gratuitous sex. Everybody is pretty much a bad guy. I used to read books like this all the time, but gave them up for better books. I'm glad. I read this when I was stuck at the hospital with nothing else to read. Wouldn't recommend it. Nope.
Book #8: A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar. The basis for the Russell Crowe movie from a few years back. The story of John Nash, a brilliant young mathematician from the late 50's/early 60's, whose promise was ruined by schizophrenia. He won a Nobel Prize in 1994 (I think that's the year) for his work in game theory--which is used in economics. Very different from the movie. He was not nearly as "loveable" as Crowe portrayed him in the movie. It was interesting to see how, when the mental illness began, it was difficult to distinguish it from the eccentricities of great mathematicians. It's a different world.
Book #9: In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. The classic, classic story of life in a cloistered monastery, told via the story of Philippa Talbot, a widow and late in life vocation. The book very gently puts to rest any preconceptions about cloistered nuns being "otherworldly" or "hothouse flowers". This is our book club selection for this month, and the discussion should be wonderful. If you have never read this, go NOW, buy and read! It's that good.
Book #10: The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith. The fifth book in the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series. If you love Precious Ramotswe, this is just another lovely confection in the series. She is investigating the suitors for a rich woman's hand. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is dragooned into a parachute jump to raise funds for the orphan farm. And just when ARE the two engaged people going to get married? All dealt with in this book. But mostly dealt with are the differences between men and women. Loved it as usual.