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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Book Round-Up

Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber: The movie is a guilty pleasure at Christmastime, so I thought I should finally read the book.  The storylines are fleshed out more, and there were some subplots that were dropped for the movie.  While she has some genuine insights into human behavior, the resolutions of the various storylines were too pat.

And Then You Dye by Monica Ferris: another enjoyable outing with an interesting mystery and, as a bonus, the return of one of my favorite characters.  I am interested to see where she goes in the next few novels, because things seem to be gearing up for a shake-up of the characters and setting.

Death's Old Sweet Song by Jonathan Stagge: An enjoyable, old-school mystery, of the style they really don't write anymore.  It caught my attention because the murders are based on an old, old song I sang as a child (and sing to my children) -- "Green Grow the Rushes-O." The novel had some frank discussions of sexual mores and a touching subplot involving what we now call PTSD, which serve as a reminder that past generations weren't always as naive and ignorant as we like to think.

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel: Bechdel's previous comic left me wanting to know more about her mother, so when I saw this at the library I snatched it up.  Unfortunately, it is more about Bechdel's own issues with her mother, and the therapy she's had over the years, rather than her mother herself.  Still, Bechdel's writing and drawing are as compelling as ever.

In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent: a layperson's guide to invented languages, and their (few) successes and (many) failures.  Okrent's writing is delightfully witty and down-to-earth, and she does an excellent job showing the idealism and tragedy that underlie so many efforts to build a better language.

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller: your standard young-woman-flees-personal-and-professional-disaster-in-the-city-and-finds-true-happiness-in-the-country novel.  Miller's heroine is more unconventional than most, which was a nice change of pace, and the book made me both hungry for the delicious meals the characters made and nostalgic for my childhood in a small New England town.

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