February 10, 2008

At The City’s Edge – Marcus Sakey. I have no problem comparing Sakey to one of my favorite authors, George Pelicanos, or even Dennis Lehane. Pelicanos writes about D.C., Lehane about Boston, and Sakey about Chicago. This is Sakey’s second thriller, and he’s good at it, very good. Sakey's conspiracy and corruption scenarios twist together in startling ways. At The City’s Edge is fast paced from the first page. I just hope Sakey keeps releasing new thrillers. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

Some of Tim's Stories - S. E. Hinton This is a very slim book. For you lovers of Hinton's first book, The Outsiders, published over 40 years ago, the last half of the book is devoted to an interview of Hinton. I really loved this book, except it is far too short. The stories occupying the first part of the book are great. They reminded me of The Driftless Area by Tim Drury. If this book was 400 pages, I would be very happy.

High Up In The Trees by Kiara Brinkman - I really loved this book. I think Brinkman captured the voice of a nine-year-old beautifully. But this is a very complex tale, and I'm going to quote Ron Charles of the Washington Post for the rest of this review. I think he really nailed it.

"No one could blame you for turning away from Kiara Brinkman's haunting first novel. The muffled pain of Up High in the Trees will trigger your reflex for emotional protection but, if you can bear it, the treasures here are exquisite. I can't remember when I ever felt so torn between recoiling from a story and wishing I could somehow cross into its pages and comfort a character."

The Indian Bride by Karin Fossum – This is a well translated, by Charlotte Barlund, Norwegian mystery. It is actually a very good police procedural, in the vein of Michael Connelly. This mystery has many of the qualities I love in a book. It kept me interested through all 297 pages. I learned a lot, about Norway and about Norwegians. I thought about the “case”, when I wasn’t reading. When I was 50 pages, or so from the end, I had a a-ha moment, while I was in the shower, I thought I’d solved the case. Alas, Inspector Sejer solved the case, but then he’s a trained investigator, and I a mere reader. I strongly recommend this murder mystery to all who enjoy a good book.

The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum – Alright, the whole time I was reading this novel, I was thinking could this be a James Frey kind of book? No, not drugs, but was it a thinly veiled memoir? Well, the answer is no. Thanks to Random House, I had lunch with Julie, last week. Buxbaum is a debut author so good, you believe every word. Her heroine, Emily, is not some one you love or feel close to right away. Not Emily, she’s going through changes, oh boy, you wish she’d hurry. The story is about family. I loved Grandpa Jack and his friend Ruth. In the end I loved Emily, too. This is a great book for book clubs; there is much to discuss.

Nursery Crimes by Ayelet Waldman – Waldman is a former Public Defender, much like her heroine, Juliet. Waldman is married to a very creative man, Michael Chabon. Juliet is married to a very creative man, who writes horror screenplays. Waldman writes what she knows. She has created a strong, smart, fearless, funny, clever and wacky character in Juliet. Juliet is, now a stay at home mom, and prego, again, and bored. She starts playing PI, and the fun begins. This is the first of a series; I highly recommend it.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin - This is really a terrific book; it should be required reading for everyone. It was released over a year ago and I heard only good reviews and recommendations about it. And guess what, everyone was right, they absolutely knew what they were talking about. Mortenson, a former mountaineer, had a life-changing experience after a failed attempt on K2. He went on to realize his dream of fighting terrorism through education. He built schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He did it without U.S. government help, as an individual. This book tells about all his struggles, and takes the reader along on his long learning curve. I hope Greg Mortenson wins the Nobel Peace Prize, he deserves it. There is one confusing thing: the book is written by Relin, about Mortenson, they don’t appear to be co-authors.

Dear Gabriel – by Halfdan W. Freihow This is a wonderful, small, well translated memoir. I’ve been reading some Scandinavian authors lately, Freihow is Norwegian, and the translator makes a major difference. With great love and profound wonder, Freihow describes his relationship with his youngest son, Gabriel, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Though their relationship is sometimes fraught with frustration and misunderstanding, it endures and flourishes with parental pride, and ultimately, unconditional love. Taking the form of a personal letter this intimate tale evokes a rich sense of childhood magic. A tender and brutally honest testament to love and the power of family, Dear Gabriel reaches out to all parents as they try to understand and nurture their children, regardless of any obstacles that may stand in their way.


  1. High Up in the Trees - sounds intriguing. I might have to give it a try. I suspect it's difficult to read in some similar way to The Lovely Bones is difficult? Great book but as a parent who has lost a child, it was VERY hard to read.

    I really enjoy Ayelet Waldman's "mommy mysteries" series - not sure what the series is really called. I've read 3-4 of them so far. My absolute favorite new mystery series though is Cara Black's Aimee Leduc Mystery series and Donna Andrew's Meg Langslow series.

  2. Your blog is a wonderful discovery, I love both books and tea too! A day without either of them is unthinkable. Thank you for sharing, I shall be back! :-)


Thank you for commenting! I enjoy replying to all comments that have an email address attached. If you are not on Blogger please include an email address within your comment--then I can say hi back!

Happy Reading!