Sunday, September 12, 2010

10 Days, 5 Books

Hi there. Remember me? The person who used to post blog entries every day, even while on the road? I don't know what happened to her, but she's given me her word that she'll try to do better from now on.

I'd like to blame our wonderful week in SoCal for the lack of posting, but I can't. I've been doing what I used to do before the Internet. Before knitting took over my life. Before I started writing... I've been reading. Five books in the last 10 days, and each one was a winner.

Disclaimer: I've known Laura Lippman for a long time- we shared an editor at Avon (later Avon Twilight, and later still Harper Collins). She's a wonderful woman and friend, and I fondly remember an Author Dinner at one of the mystery conventions, where we got pleasantly snockered on the free wine. But I would like her books even if she was a horrible human being, because she's just that good.

I somehow missed Life Sentences in hardback (I was probably hip-deep in the sock book and unable to see over the piles of yarn in front of me, when it came out). But I made up for it with the Trade PB, which I bought for airplane reading for the CA trip (after learning that the Sioux Falls B&N didn't have a copy of I'd Know You Anywhere on hand).

Life Sentences is a stand-alone novel (not part of Laura's Tess Monaghan series), and it's wonderful. I'm not going to recap it, though here's the gist: a well-known memoirist who is floundering slightly after the less than exciting reception of her third book, a novel, finds inspiration in an old and mysterious crime that may or may not have been committed by a childhood acquaintance. You can click on the link above for a more involved synopsis, or you can just take my word that it's wonderfully written, and go read it already.

After I finished Life Sentences, I found a copy of I'd Know You Anywhere in a SoCal Target (take that B&N- though given that the book is residing firmly on the NYT Beseller list, there's probably a good reason for the Sioux Falls store to have run out). Eliza Benedict was the only surviving victim of a serial killer who kidnapped and held her for six weeks when she was fifteen years old. Now an adult, with children of her own who know nothing about her ordeal, Eliza is contacted by her kidnapper, who wants to meet with her. The story is tautly written and wonderfully told, and it deserves all of the accolades. I'd say that Laura is at the top of her game, but I suspect she's just getting started.

But in between the two Lippmans, I picked up a copy of The Hunger Games. I know, I know- I'm the last person in the country to discover this book, but whoo boy...  Suzanne Collins's dystopian trilogy is one of the best series I've ever read. In a way, I'm glad that I didn't find them until now, because I could sit down and read all three books in a row, without having to wait for distant publication dates. 
Catching Fire, and Mockingjay, which complete the trilogy, continue the story of Katniss Everdeen, participant in her country's televised Hunger Games, where a pair of children from each district are pitted against each other, forced to fight to the death until only one, The Victor, survives. The books are violent, stark, and amazingly well written. I was pulled in on the first page of The Hunger Games, and I didn't come up for air until I finished Mockingjay, just an hour or two ago. The downside of that is that I am having some trouble working myself back into my own universe. The ending was not what I expected, but at the same time, it was totally satisfying. I recommend this series highly, though I'd hesitate to give it to anyone under the age of 13, just because the story is so intense (frankly, I'm still reeling, and I'm a whole lot older than 13).
So, what's up next in the TBR? Nothing. I have a book of my own to write, and workshops to get ready for- next weekend is NCFF!


JackieLemon said...

I love Laura Lippman's books and am waiting for my library copy of her newest. I read Hunger Games wondering if it was appropriate for my two 12 year old vorocious reading grandkids. Still not sure about them but I loved it and am starting the next two after I finish up The Passage which I highly recommend as your next read.

Angela said...

I'll have to read Laura Lippman's books. Suzanne Collins is a favorite of mine. My son and I read "Gregor the Overlander" 6 years ago when he wastin 4th grade as part of a parent/child reading group. We both loved it (I find teen and YA books better than adult books!) We waited and waited for each new installment until the Gregor series ended :(. Then came the "Hunger Games" and we both read that because it was written by Suzzane Collins. We actually fought over "Catching Fire". We have "Mockingjay", but I'm determined to complete the Harry Potter series for the 5th time before the movie in November and he's got so much reading for school right now, it's having to wait. KILLING ME! Such great characters.

DragonsChest said...

I loved the Hunger Games trilogy - bound to become a classic, I think.