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AUGUST 20, 2011
Just finished reading...
Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. The sentimental title of this novel is rather deceptive, although Campbell has managed to create a sort of fairy tale world set along an imaginary tributary of the Kalamazoo River in southwestern Michigan. The novel's focus, a teenager named Margo Crane, has grown up with the river as her companion. She is more in touch with its moods than with any of the people around her. A series of family disturbances forces Margo to leave home and search for a new place to center herself. She is determined to live off the land, and as a crack shot with a rifle or a shotgun, that may just be possible. The voice of the narrator, as it speaks from Margo's viewpoint, is filled with the essence of the river and those who live along it. Some critics have compared Margo to Huck Finn, and there are some similarities, but make no mistake, this is a book about modern times, even though the characters sometimes seem as though they are in another world. Campbell has won several awards for her fiction, and I'm sure we'll be hearing more from her.
The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg. I picked this up in error as it is actually the second book in the series, but can easily be read on its own. Lackberg is another in the windfall of Scandinavian crime writers being translated into English these days. While not as cerebral a writer as Nesbo, as bleak as Mankell's Wallander, or as violent as Larsson's Millenium Series, Lackberg's prose is interesting and engaging to read. Her detective, Patrick Hedstrom, is a young policeman, about to become a father in this volume. When three bodies are found in a popular tourist area, Patrick is put in charge of the case, but he is plagued by a heatwave, a family feud, and a bunch of unwanted visitors at home. The translation of this novel seems a bit more straightforward and easier to read than some of the other writers in the genre. Try it, or choose the first in the series, The Ice Princess, also available at the library.
Thanks to a grant from the Schuylkill Area Community Foundation, the library will be expanding its audio book collection. A grant of award of $500 will be used to purchase 19 new audio books on CD with cases. These include favorites like Michael Connelly, James Patterson, and Debbie Macomber. Popular titles such as Twilight, The Kite Runner, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are also included. Audio books add a new dimension to the activity of reading, and a popular with commuters, those with impaired sight, and other who, like me, enjoy the opportunity to listen to a book while driving, walking, or even lying in bed. These new additions should all be ready for borrowing by the end of August.
Nemesis by Jo Nesbo. In this second Harry Hole novel, Harry is caught up in two cases-a bank robbery ending in murder, and the mysterious death of an old girlfriend. Unfortunately, Harry was probably the last person to see the woman alive! As he tries to reconcile his grief for his lost partner, a disturbing period of amnesia, and the pleasures and pains of a new relationship, Harry is once again forced to make his own rules to solve the crimes, much to the dismay of his superiors. These books are like potato chips-you can't read just one! Try them now before they get even more popular, and you'll have to be on the waiting list.
Did you ever hear the term "dog days of summer"? Well this intrigued me and I looked it up in the World Book Dictionary. This is a period of very hot and uncomfortable weather during July and August. It also refers to days of the dog star because this is the period when the rising of the dog star (Sirius) coincides with the rising of the sun. If you are curious about other sayings and myths, you can check out your local library for information. The library's a cool place in summer.
.........The Wood Beyond by Reginald Hill. I read this Dalziel and Pascoe series mystery while I was on vacation. I found it very fitting, as I was in Belgium and in this story Yorkshire policeman Peter Pascoe is taken back in time and place to that very country. After his grandmother's funeral, he finds himself left with the job of distributing her ashes as requested in the will. This task leads him to information about his great-grandfather, a soldier who served in Belgium during the first World War. Hill's mysteries are always complex, and he likes to blend the intricacies of the case with the everyday events in the lives of the detectives. An attack on a research company by a group of animal activists, soon connects with Pascoe's personal research into his family history, You can find this book in paperback at the library, and we also have several other selections in this long-standing detective series.