Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Painted Veil

A wonderful work by Somerset Maugham, this tells the story of vain, shallow Kitty Garstin, who marries Walter Fane just to beat her younger sister to the altar and to get away from her overbearing mother. It is the 1920's and Walter is a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. Kitty soon is bored with Walter; she conducts an affair with Charles Townsend, a junior official in government in Hong Kong who owes his position to his wife. Walter discovers the affair and issues an ultimatum: come to the cholera-ridden Chinese interior with him, or face scandal as he names Townsend co-respondent in a divorce proceedings. She goes. And grows, thank goodness. None of the characters are likeable at first. The second half of the book is much more compelling than the first. Kitty begins to volunteer in an orphanage managed by a group of French nuns. She experiences some self awareness, though it doesn't help her marriage. Eventually she must retrace her steps to Hong Kong, then to England. We are left with the hope that she finds the freedom and peace she desires.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Likeness

Number two in the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. Cassie Maddox has transferred out of the Murder Squad, but gets an urgent call to attend a crime scene. The murder victim is Cassie's double and is identified as Alexandra Madison. However, Alexandra Madison doesn't exist; the name and persona was made up for Cassie in an undercover assignment. Cassie once again goes undercover to find out who this girl was and who killed her. She may just lose herself along the way.

In the Woods

Tana French's debut of the Dublin Murder Squad series. In the summer of 1984, the police are called to search for three children who didn't come home when called. They find only one, wearing blood-filled sneakers, terrorized and unable to remember anything about the day. In 2004, that child, Rob Ryan, is a detective who keeps quiet about his past. The only one who knows is his partner and best friend, Cassie Maddox. Now they are investigating the murder of a 12- year old girl found in the same wood with haunting similarities to the old case. Ryan has only bits of memory, but feels he may be able to solve this case and that of his own past.

A Fatal Grace

Number two in Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. CC de Poitiers, a newcomer to Three Pines, made herself disliked by everyone, even her spineless husband and pitiful daughter. She was disliked to death, electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake in front of the whole village during the annual curling tournament. Who could be so crazy, diabolical, and brilliant as to commit this murder with no one seeing anything?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Secrets of the Interior Life

By Archbishop Luis M. Martinez,  translated by H. J. Beutler, C.M. S.T.L. I read this fabulous book as part of my morning devotions. Bishop Martinez stresses faith, even when, especially when, one is in desolation and believe God is far away. In the obscurity of faith is where one will hear Him (not in feelings). I found so many truths and helps in here! I will be reading it again, aloud, to my children.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book

Put together by Diane Muldrow, this is really kind of a sweet book. Each page has a word or phrase designed for motivation, set against an apropos illustration from a Little Golden Book. Nice to remember those books being read to me and, in turn, reading them to my children.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window

And Disappeared. Debut novel by Swedish writer Jonas Jonasson, translated by Rod Bradbury. Allan Karlsson is in a nursing home, and wakes on his 100th birthday desiring a drink. However, Director Alice has decreed there to be no drinking in the nursing home. While plans for his birthday party are underway, Allan escapes to get some vodka. Thus begins what would be the journey of a lifetime for most people; but Allan has lived quite an eventful life, participating in world events for most of the 20th century. Quite a tale of what a friendly, apolitical person can accomplish (wink).