Saturday, July 27, 2013

And a Mere Week Later....

Grandma Crabby's Non-Cookbook Book Corner!

This is going back a bit to some things I finished earlier this summer. (Can you believe it's almost freaking AUGUST??? How the hell did that happen?) But I did read a few things that stayed with me enough to think, "I really should mention this on the blog," and then never got around to it. So here goes, four sixty-second book reviews.

First up: You can't judge this book by its cover. I might have passed up To Marry an English Lord because at first glance, I thought it was a collection of stories of American heiresses who married titles - you know, mini-biographies. It does contain profiles of the families, but it's so much more. It's a fascinating glimpse into a period of history, and the nouveau riche of New York's struggle to be accepted by Mrs. Astor's people, which led the savvy social climbing mamas to take their prettiest daughters to Europe in hope of snagging a Duke to help bridge that awkward social gap. Fascinating, fun, full of glimpses of mind-boggling wealth and comical ambition, go read.

Nearly as high marks for Scorpion Tongues New and Updated Edition: Gossip, Celebrity, and American Politics. A gossip retrospective that makes it clear that there really is nothing new under the sun. I knew a few of these stories already, but the background and detail was very entertaining. Another go read.

And another book that came out years ago that I finally got around to reading: The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America Excellent, just fascinating - it reads like a novel, and I now want to go read everything Erik Larson has ever written. Damn, he's good.

Finally, a new Karin Slaughter: Unseen: A Novel I listened to this via Audible, and...I liked it, but I have to give it a mixed review. The female protagonist, Dr. Sara Linton, is a woman I love to hate. She has moments of absolutely infuriating whiny-girly shit that make me want to slap her, then redeems herself by acting like a grownup, then pouts and throws her cell phone because she's mad at her boyfriend, a cop, for being unavailable doing cop things, when she used to be married to a cop and should know that this goes with the territory. She's the weakest link in an otherwise interesting ensemble of recurring characters. I've decided that while I like Slaughter's books, I prefer the ones where Sara plays a very minor role. She grates on my nerves. I really enjoyed Criminal: A Novel (with bonus novella Snatched): A Novel, and realize now that it's because Sara wasn't a big part of the story. Just shut up, Dr. Linton. Thank you.

Dog and remodeling updates to follow tomorrow, I promise.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed "Murder in the White City," too. As I was reading it, it was hard to believe it's true---I think every generation thinks it invents everything for the first time, including serial killers. We had a few weeks of really hot, steamy weather here (you know they kind---you step outside into the heat and humidity and the air feels like bath water on your skin), so I've been reading allot, but I haven't found anything really noteworthy. I am re-reading "The Book Thief." (I recommended it to a friend, and she said she hated it, but I love the way the author uses language.) I also watched the PBS/Ken Burns documentary about the Dust Bowl on Netflix, so I picked up the books mentioned in the series at the library today. I'm hoping they are all very "Grapes of Wrath"ish.

Catherine said...

I had the same reaction - the serial killer story sounded so contemporary, but of course back in the day when communication was limited to letter writing, it was even easier for the killer to get away with it. I loved the dogged detective work that led to his arrest. We are having our usual insane heat and humidity, of course, plus the occasional very violent thunderstorm. I hate summer, and I'm glad to see August, because September will follow, then October, then the weather will be pleasant again.