Books for November
2007 Finishes: Books
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The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
This novel revolves around the interaction between a sex ed teacher and her daughter's soccer coach, and evangelical Christian. They initially clash and assume that they will hate each other, but they find they are somehow attracted to each other and things become complex, both in their personal lives and in their small New England town. Perrotta does a very good job of writing about both sides of the abstinence-only education debate without making it into a clearly "good guys vs. bad guys" thing either way. Some of the characters are quite cliched, but others are surprisingly complex. I couldn't put this one down.
On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts
Genre: Women's fiction
Members of a knitting group feel that their families don't appreciate everything they do to prepare for Christmas and decide to go on strike. The local media hears of it, and the whole thing spirals out of control, with somewhat predictable results. I won't say that this was overly original or anything, but it was a cute, feel-good Christmas read and I'm a sucker for those. The writing was decent and I got attached to some of the characters. I'm hoping Roberts makes this a series.
Well-Schooled in Murder by Elizabeth George
This is one of George's series of Inspector Lynley mysteries. These are traditional British mysteries at their best (although George is actually not British, contrary to popular belief). This one had a boarding school setting, which I always love. I definitely recommend this series - start with A Great Deliverance.
Candy Cane Murder by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier
Genre: Mystery, cozy/holiday
This is a collection of Christmas mystery novellas. I hadn't read any of these authors before, but they all sounded interesting, so I figured I'd give it a try. I loved the one by Leslie Meier, and the Joanne Fluke was quite good too. The Laura Levine was okay but not great. Overall, it was a fun Christmas read, and has gotten me reading Leslie Meier's and Joanne Fluke's series. I've tried a few of the recipes included, and they're quite yummy.
Posted by Kat at December 31, 2007 04:00 PM
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott
Genre: Juvenile, classic
This little book wasn't much longer than a short story. It is about a farm family in early 1800s New Hampshire - the mother is called away at Thanksgiving and the children decide to make Thanksgiving themselves. Alcott's writing is always fun to read, but this wasn't anywhere near as good as most of her work. I kept being distracted by the "country" dialect that Alcott gave her farm characters, to point out how they were so good-hearted despite their lack of education, I suppose. It just seemed unnecessary - but, of course, these things must be seen in light of their times, and Alcott is, if anything, more politically correct by today's standards than are most writers of her time. I thought this story was interesting in light of the effort in the late nineteenth century to create the "history" and tradition of Thanksgiving, given that this story was set decades before it was written.