July 01, 2007

Beach Reads

Vacations in summer are an ideal time to pick up a good book. As usually happens in summertime, I've been racing through quite a few myself. Here's what I've been reading lately.

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde - Imagine if you will a world where nursery rhyme characters live amongst ordinary people. That's the unusual setting for Fforde's new series of murder mysteries. They are solved by the Nursery Crime Division, led by Jack Spratt and assisted by Mary Mary (don't call her contrary). Clever references are weaved through the book in a most entertaining way. This first book is about the murder of Humpty Dumpty. And now I'm reading book two, which centers on the murder of Goldilocks - The Fourth Bear.

Thirteen At Dinner
and Towards Zero by Agatha Christie - Those that know me well are aware that I'm a big Christie fan. I have all of her books, and like to pepper them between reading heavier books. The former novel (also called Lord Edgeware Dies) was an interesting examination of the danger of impersonation. The latter was not one of her best, but does offer the problem of having only four suspects, all of whom seem to have an alibi.

Sammy's Hill by Kristin Gore - Think Bridget Jones as a Capitol Hill staffer, and you pretty much have the idea. I picked this up on instinct at the airport, as I'd meant to read it for over a year. I devoured nearly 700 pages in 2 days. It's highly addictive, and I can't wait to read her new release - Sammy's House. (And yes, the author is the daughter of Al Gore.)

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst - Previously you heard me rave about Lost and Found, so I figured I'd give her more well-known first novel a try. It was just as hard to put down. This book is a love story intertwined with the sad search of a bereaved husband. But I must warn you - there are some sections that can be very hard to handle (emotionally), especially for dog owners. In an interview, Parkhurst said she wanted to show the extreme limits that the main character could have chosen to go to, so you can better examine his methods. I see her point, but there are still these images that I can't shake from my mind.

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith - The latest in his series for the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, like the books before it, it reads easily and provides a satisfactory ending. I always enjoy slipping into his books for some wry humor and a good cup of bush tea.

What are y'all reading this summer? Any good recommendations (or brutal pans)?


Stef said...

I really enjoyed The Dogs of Babel when I read it a few years ago. You're right, it has some really disturbing scenes, but it's worth it if you can stomach them.

I've been thinking about getting that Kristin Gore book for summer - thanks for the tip! Sounds like great airplane reading, and lord knows I have a lot of flights coming up with all those weddings!

joyous said...

I've been reading Jasper Fforde since The Eyre Affair. Love, love, love him.

Stef said...

I've totally been channeling you this weekend. I deemed this my "stay at home and do nothing but read" weekend, including yesterday as a day off. So, yesterday I read "Sammy's Hill" and today I read "Lost and Found." Guess what? I loved both of them! They were exactly what I was in the mood for - a little light comedy, a little romance, some deeper thoughts about politics and self-examination. Perfect summer reads! Thanks for the recommendations. :-)