Sunday, January 20, 2013

Catching up with a few good books

I've known people who manage to read a book a week.  I've thought "how do they do it?"
Well, here I sit, 3rd week of 2013 and guess what, I've managed to 3 books.

The dark themes of the last 2 books I read, left me needing something simple and sweet.  Emily Giffin's book Where We Belong was just right.  Marian is a successful New York screen writer, thinking she has the life she was always meant to have.    Kirby is a young woman in search of her birth mom.  When they meet,they both begin a journey of reflection, trying to sort through where exactly they each belong.  Easy-breezy chick lit:   sometimes it is just what you need to shake the darkness of other stories out of your head.
 James Patterson:  how many books has this man written?  Plenty.  The Private series is yet another in his franchise.  Private refers to a private investigation and security team run by Jack Morgan.  #1 Suspect is the second book in the series and focuses on the company owner, Jack Morgan.  He is considered to be the prime suspect in the recent murder of his former girlfriend and employee.  While he sorts through his personal troubles, the rest of his team tackle a few other cases.  The other books I've read by James Patterson have typically focused on just one case.  This book had at least 3 stories being told pretty much simultaneously.  The book read quickly, the characters are likable and there were even a few twists at the end.  It's a great book to have handy to pick up and read for a bit:  as his chapters are short and it is an easy book to set down and yet engaging enough that you find yourself reaching for it again each evening.
Ok, 2 easy reads, now I'm ready for something with a little more grit to it.  I found this book on an end cap at the library. And, yes, I judged a book by it's cover and thought "that looks interesting".    I've had the opportunity to work with a couple Muslim students at work and thought perhaps this book might give me a bit of insight into this region of the world.  

Interesting indeed!    Crime fiction set in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia.  The author weaves in multiple cultural references that provide the reader with plenty to ponder beyond just the curious "who dunnit".  My only regret is that I  should have read the cover a little closer as this book is actually a follow up to her first novel, Finding Nouf.  As a result, I spent the first 50 pages or so, wondering who exactly the main characters are and how they know each other.  While I appreciated all the cultural insight, I did feel like the author was working too hard to weave in as many examples as she could.  It made some of the pieces feel choppy.  She also left a few threads of her story unfinished.   Sure the mystery was solved and the reader learned who did it, but I was also wondering about some of the other smaller story lines.  Perhaps she has a 3rd book in the works, but not sure I found it interesting enough to sign up for the next installment.  

Check any one of these out at your local library and you'll be glad you took time to stick your nose into a good (but not great) book.  

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