2008 Finishes: Books
Fair Game by Valerie Plame Wilson
Genre: Politics, memoir
Comments: Wilson was the CIA agent outed after her husband, Joe Wilson, was seen as opposing the Bush administration. It was fascinating to read her side of the story, and I understand what happened with the whole convoluted affair much better now. It was very difficult to read parts of the book, though, because of the CIA editing - instead of trying to rewrite her book, Wilson published the original manuscript with lines blacked out by CIA censors. There's an afterword written by someone else that fills in much of the deleted information, as most of it is on the public record.
Behind My Eyes by Li-Young Lee
Comments: I first discovered Lee's work back in high school, so I was thrilled to find this new book of his in the library. The main theme of the book is ostensibly immigration, but recurring themes include family, religion, language, and identity. As always, Lee's poems are haunting and lyrical. Highly recommended.
Doesn't She Look Natural? by Angela Hunt
Genre: Christian fiction, women's fiction
Comments: After a tough divorce and job loss, a woman unexpectedly inherits a funeral home. She takes her mother and two young sons to the small Florida town where the home is located, planning to just fix it up and sell it. I'm sure you can figure out where the plot goes from there. It was a nice feel-good read, and I'll probably look for by this author. One thing I particularly liked was the way the characters' beliefs and faith were woven into the story in a natural way - the reader isn't hit over the head with it as happens in much "Christian fiction."
They Did It with Love by Kate Morgenroth
Genre: Mystery, literary
Comments: This literary mystery is set amongst a book club in hoity-toity Greenwich, CT. It revolves in point of view between many characters, focusing on Sofie, a recent transplant from New York. Various secrets and complications are revealed as the characters try to figure out what happened to one of their book club members. Some of the characterization was a bit superficial and facile, but overall the book was quite good. And it had my favorite kind of ending for a mystery: it almost completely surprised me, but when I looked back at the plot, I realized it was cleverly set up all along.
Posted by Kat at March 5, 2008 03:17 PM
The Cult of Perfection by Cooper Lawrence
Comments: Lawrence discusses various aspects of the perfectionist "lifestyle," trying to take the stigma away from the idea. She provides some pop-psychology reasons why one might be a perfectionist, and some strategies for making these tendencies work to your advantage. Some of it was interesting, but overall it was pretty blah.