Wednesday, August 08, 2007

July Reads

I'M A STRANGER HERE MYSELF/Bill Bryson: Not exactly a travel book, but a collection of columns Bryson wrote for a London newspaper upon moving back to the U.S. after twenty years in England. He takes on everything from the different vocabulary needed for going to the hardware store to the love affair Americans have with their cars to the unique holiday that is Thanksgiving. Like everything Bryson writes, hysterically funny. He could make me laugh if he wrote the Yellow Pages.

THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY/John le Carre: I had quite a thing for le Carre's spy novels years ago. I've recently rediscovered him and am enjoying filling in some of the blanks in his work. This novel deals with a British irregular spy who's called back into service to help Britain recover from a devasatating defection. Demoralized and led by George Smiley, the British service has a plan to snatch an important asset out of China. Set in the last days of the Vietnam War, from the killing fields of Cambodia to bustling Hong Kong, Jerry Westerby finds himself caught between his assignment and his instincts. If you like spy novels in the slightest, John le Carre is the best.

LIRAEL and ABHORSEN/Garth Nix: The final two in the Sabriel trilogy. Sixteen years after the events in Sabriel, evil is on the move again. Lirael, a daughter of the seers known as the Clayr, doesn't have the gift of sight. But it seems she might have other gifts in compensation. When she is forced to leave the glacier home of the Clayr, Lirael can't imagine how far her travels will take her or the path that has chosen her. ABHORSEN continues immediately where LIRAEL ends, so it's a good thing we had both books in the house so I could read them straight through.

I CAPTURE THE CASTLE/Dodie Smith: An oldie, written post WWII, set post WWI, about a charmingly poor British family--writer father who hasn't worked for years, former artist-model stepmother, schoolboy brother, and two sisters who are just at the age to be thinking of their seemingly non-existent futures. But fate intervenes, in the form of two young American men, and it appears all will be well in fairytale ending. But not everything goes as planned. The true charm of this novel is the narrator, the younger sister, who captures the reader from the moment she opens the story sitting with her feet in the kitchen sink.

Also Read:

EVERYTHING'S EVENTUAL/Stephen King/short stories
NIGHT TRAIN TO MEMPHIS/Elizabeth Peters/one of my favorite mystery re-reads
SICKENED/Julie Gregory/memoir
THE WARRIOR HEIR/Cinda Williams Chima/YA fantasy
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE/JK Rowling/re-read of book six in anticipation of . . .
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS/JK Rowling/this needs a post of its own

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