Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Black Lightning

Black Lightning by John Saul

Journalist Anne Jeffers has been working for five years to see that a serial killer is kept off the street. On the day of his execution he tells her the murders won't end with her death. And they don't.

I enjoyed this book. I'm a fan of the supernatural and murder genres. So when you combine the two it's fun. And this one was truly creepy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Keepers of the House

The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau

1965 Pulitzer

The Howland family have lived on the old homestead since the early 1800's. In 1965 the current occupant is Abigail. Her grandfather, William, had brought home a young black woman named Margaret to help take care of Abigail. But Margaret also became his mistress and had children by him.

Abigail's husband is a budding politician. So William and Margaret's secret is a devastating blow to his campaign. And to the community at large.

"The Keepers of the House" is a powerful book about race relations and hyprococy in the south. It asks the question "Do you say what you mean or say what you think people want to hear." It's pertinant in todays PC dominated world.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Stranger

The Stranger by Albert Camus

1957 Nobel

Meursault is a young man living in Algiers. Learning of his mother's death he travels to her funeral where his behavior is less than grief-stricken. He decides not to view his mother. And he naps during the vigil.

Upon returning home afterwards, he befriends his neighbor, Raymond. Raymond asks Meursault to write a letter to his girlfriend asking her to come back to him. Once she does, Raymond beats the crap out of her. So her brother is out to get Raymond. On a trip to the beach Meursault, his girlfriend Marie and Raymond are followed by the brother and an Arab friend. On a walk on the beach Meursault runs across the Arab and winds up killing him.

Meursault is arrested and put on trial. But the trial soon veers away from the murder and focuses on Meursault's attitude. The court decides his attitude is a threat to society.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

2007 ALA/Alex award

Jacob Jankowski is 90 or 93. He's not sure which. He's recovering from a broken hip in a nursing home where his busy family have put him. Right down the street a circus is putting up tent. Jacob is suddenly transported to memory-land.

Just days before Jacob was due to graduate from veterinary school, his parents are killed in a traffic accident. While settling their affairs, Jacob learns they had remortgaged the house for his schooling. So a despondent Jacob jumps a train and finds himself among circus folk. With his veterinary schooling he soon finds himself a welcome addition.

Among the people he meets with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth is the cruel animal trainer August, and his beautiful equestrian wife, Marlene. And there's also the elephant, Rosie.

I loved this book. I'm going to make my sister read it. I have to buy my own copy though. I checked it out of the library not kowing how much I would like it. I only chose it for the BookAwards ChallengeII because it had won one.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Always Time to Die

Always Time To Die by Elizabeth Lowell

Carly May is a genealogist who is invited to New Mexico to chart a family tree for the Quantrell family. The Quantrell family has intermingled with the Castillo family for centuries. But now the powerful Senator has died and Miss Winnifred Quantrell wants a record of the family. But there have been some nasty people in the family and someone wants the skeletons left in the closet.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

"Brave New World" is set in the future in London. Most of the world is united in The World State and years are measured in "the year of our Ford." People are no longer born but raised in jars. They're chemically treated to control their traits and are classified onto 5 classes, from brains at the top to mindless laborors at the bottom of the scale. People are trained to consume goods. They're controlled with a drug called soma.

Bernard and Lenina take a trip to New Mexico to the Savage Reservation. While there they meet a woman who had belonged to the New World but got separated from her group and forced to remain on the reservation once she got pregnant naturally. Laura has an 18 year old son, John. Laura ans John are brought back to London. John's culture shock causes a storm in the new society that understands him no better than he understands them.