Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reading Room

Hi All!

It has been a while since I last showed you what I have been reading so . . . I thought I would show you!

I went through a bit of a funk for a while and during that time I didn't read any books at all. Just magazines. Weird, but true!

My first book - post-funk - is a light mystery by Diane Mott Davidson, Catering to Nobody.

If you haven't sampled Davidson's work, you might like to dig into one of her books. The books center on the main character, Goldy Bear, who works as a caterer in a small Colorado town. She somehow finds herself involved in murdered and then proceeds to do her own "investigations" while preparing scrumptious foods.

The books are quick reads and include recipes for dishes that Goldy makes throughout the story so you can make them yourself. Warning - few of the recipes are low-fat or low-calorie!

In this book, the first of Davidson's books, Goldy finds herself catering a wake for a loved teacher at which - you guessed it - someone is poisoned! Goldy's horrid ex-husband instantly proclaims that SHE is the culprit and she struggles for the rest of the book to prove her innocence.

I adore these books - they are fun and not too serious to be read right before bed.

Next up is Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley.

This book is a sequel to Gone With the Wind written many years later and by a totally different author. It is a lengthy volume which does a good job capturing the feel of the original while moving the plot along in a very interesting direction.
Scarlett, the main character, finds herself at odds with pretty much everyone and everything. Her marriage to Rhett is breaking down and her relationships with people in Atlanta are breaking down as well. Scarlett travels to Charleston and then to Ireland in a wild pursuit of money, Rhett's love, and, lastly, happiness.
This book was a LONG read but, in the end, was worth it. Unfortunately for the book, this was the book that I stopped reading when the funk hit. That means it took me MUCH longer than usual to read it. Don't blame the book though. It is good - it just had the misfortune of being read at the wrong time!
Next is a book I picked up in Ketchikan, Alaska. If You Lived Here, I Would Know Your Name by Heather Lende.

This book was recommended many times by many people during my trip to Alaska in June. I was finally intrigued so I picked it up. I am glad that I did!
Heather Lende is a writer for the Haines newspaper. She writes a "society" column as well as the obituaries. It is Heather's work on the obituaries that actually shape this book which is part memoir and part town and Alaskan history. While talking about the people who she writes about, Heather reveals what life in small town Alaska is really like. Artfully weaving together personal experiences with experiences of the people she writes about, a full and colorful picture of Haines, Alaska.
If you would like to know what really goes on in a small town in Alaska, pick up this book. If you are looking for an interesting memoir, pick up this book. If you just want a nice, interesting read, pick up this book!
Diane Mott Davidson shows up again for The Cereal Murders.

This time Goldy is catering meetings for the local prep school. The meetings are to help the seniors prepare for college applications and all of that fun stuff. However, the outcome of the first meeting isn't that "fun." The Valedictorian is found murdered in the snow by . . . Goldy!

Goldy's young son, Arch, a rather socially awkward but endearing character, becomes the target of pranks (not the funny kind!) at the same prep school. Also, Julian Teller, a student at the prep school who is living with Goldy and Arch, becomes a prime suspect!

Once more, recipes abound as Goldy works to untangle the mystery of the murder. Delicious!

To continue the theme - Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson!

How can you resist this book once you read the title? In the chronology of Davidson's books, this one actual comes before The Cereal Murders as it explains just how Julian ends up with Goldy.

In this mystery, Goldy and her son (and Julian) are living in the house (mansion) of a wealthy couple. Goldy is the live-in cook, which is perfect since her own house in undergoing some repairs and having an alarm system installed after her ex-husband threatens her. While living with the couple, Goldy once more faces death and her "sort-of- boyfriend," the town's psychiatrist, ends up dead after a very erratic and dangerous drive.

Of course, Goldy investigates her amour's death and finds herself - and her son - in danger once more. While working out this mystery Goldy provides many recipes for us to drool over. Another great book from Davidson!

Up last is The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

Having seen the musical a while back, I was told by other audience members that I should read the book. So - when I saw the book at the school book sale, I snatched it up (did you really think I paid that much for it?)!

I am glad that I picked up this book. Written in the form of letters to God, the main character, Celie, reveals her journey of self discovery as a black woman in the south. Trapped in a bad marriage and a bad life, Celie's letters take us along as she slowly realizes her own self-worth through her interaction with a cast of unlikely characters which includes her violent and mean husband, his ornery children, and his mistress.

Celie transforms herself into her true self through the experiences she lives - experiences which at times seem to be more than she can handle.

This is a powerful book which is also enjoyable and interesting to read. The letter format makes this a good book to read in bits and spurts as you have time even though, in my case, I didn't want to put it down!

To show you what I read during my "funk," I took a picture of SOME of the magazines I have read lately. Remember, this is only some of them. Some have already been recycled or given away.

Oh - I HAVE been reading some other books lately. Would you like to see them?

This rather blurry shot is showing you my books for class. Doesn't that look like fun?


Voice Update: Doing well. Doing well!


Mental P Mama said...

I am suddenly hungry.

Chris H said...

Wow you are reading a lot. I like a good murder/mystery myself.