Monday, April 11, 2011

Catching Up

Due to circumstances beyond my control and abject laziness, I'm totally out of date with my list of books. Rather than try to start where I left off, I'll list a few that I've read recently.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest  is the last of the Steig Larssen  books, and the best, I think. The anit-heroine Lisbeth Salander is one of the best characters in contemporary literature. That's going some, but I was engaged by the first book, and sorry to reach the end of the last one.

Next: two favorites of mine:Paris and food and present in The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz. He was a desert chef at La Panisse in Berkeley who decided to move to Paris, to a two room flat,  with an inadequate kitchen, where he develops killer recipes. He also had to learn about Parisians-not an easy job. Included in his memoir are recipes for:Bacon and Bleu Cheese Cake, Mocha Creme Fraiche Cake, and (the one recipe I've tried so far) Dulce de Leche Brownies. He also has a great blog.

I found Kate Morton because I had one of those book a day calendars last year. This year I have another because of the great books I've found. And hers were the real jewels. Evidently a lot of people agree with me because I had to join a long hold  list at the library. So far I've read two, each different, but so beautifully written, so engrossing that I spent long hours in Kate Morton's worlds. I read The House at Riverton last year, and just finished The Distant Hours. Morton's books have unexpected turns to them that kept me guessing.The flyleaf of The Distant Hours  holds the first page of a book: The True History of the Mud Man. That book is the centerpiece that everything turns around: the author, his three daughters, their secrets, the young woman who writes about them, her mother, and her secrets. It's a must read.

I also read Jane Eyre  for about the 50th time. Even though I know it so well, I still find new beauty in Bronte's skill, delicate nuances in they way she outlines characters, then fills them in, a bit at a time. I get such a feeling for the land itself which seems another character. I always learn something new when I reread an old favorite.

At the Whidbey Island Writers Conference I heard a conversation about the change in the way readers read-not about ebooks, just about the way  they read. More action is expected  in the first few pages, fewer readers are patient enough to slowly weave their way  into a novel. Would the Brontes or  Jane Austin, or Anthony Trollope get published today?

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