The weather has improved tremendously. Yesterday it was in the 70s rather than the 90s. What a relief! It's not fireplace weather yet, but I'm starting to look forward to it.
I'm still reading, trying to make it to 52 books before the end of the year. I think I'm in the middle of #47 (or maybe #48; I can't remember and I forgot to count). I usually have two books going at once: one at home and another for my lunch break at work.
At home I'm reading Crossfire, by Dick Francis and Felix Francis. I was looking at the Dick Francis website the other day and Felix hinted that he was going to continue his father's work. That will be nice. Crossfire, as with the rest of the Francis books, is a page-turner.
My lunchtime reading is On Folly Beach, by Karen White. It's not quite as exciting as a Dick Francis novel, but so far the story is good. Karen White likes to toss in a good mystery, although the novels are not strictly mysteries. They're more mainstream, women's lit.
Here are a few of the books I've actually finished:
The Draining Lake, by Arnaldur Indridason. I don't know what it is about Scandinavian writers, but they certainly can turn out a good mystery. In this story, a skeleton is found in a lake near Reykjavik that is mysteriously draining away (the draining is not germane to the story). The remains are tied to a Russian listening device, of the type used for espionage. This clue leads Erlendur and his colleagues to the 1970s, during the Cold War. The flashbacks in this particular story are of the politics in Leipzig in East Germany. There was a socialist movement in Iceland at the time, and some of the Icelandic students went to study in Leipzig. There was a scary picture of life under communism of that time. (Makes me glad I'm a capitalist pig, not to mention a bleeding-heart liberal.) Erlendur has to hunt down former Icelandic students who went to Germany in the 70s. The ending is a good surprise when they find out who the skeleton is. If you haven't read any of Arnaldur's books, I highly recommend them.
Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. What an absolutely wonderful book. Very upbeat and positive and worth reading again and again. That's all I have to say about this book besides, "READ IT!"
Faking It, by Jennifer Crusie. Once again, I've lifted a review from Amazon. If you like fun stories, you must read this one.
"Mural artist Tilda Goodnight is struggling to pay off the mortgage on the family business and keep the Goodnight secrets safely hidden. Juggling her life gets even more complicated when she hides in Clea Lewis's closet and collides with sexy Davy Dempsey. Tilda is in Clea's bedroom to steal back a forged painting; Davy's there to steal Clea's account codes and retrieve the $3 million the larcenous blonde stole from him. Somehow, Tilda finds herself exchanging a mind-blowing kiss with her fellow burglar, and when Davy follows her home and rents a room from her mother, she's forced to deal with the charming con man. Everyone in Tilda's world is pretending to be someone else, including her daydreaming mother, her split-personality sister, and her cross-dressing ex-brother-in-law. All of them, including Tilda and Davy, are Faking It. What will happen when all the secrets are out and everyone knows the truth about everyone else? Will Davy recover his 3 million? Will Tilda recover all the forged paintings and find her true artistic calling? Will Tilda's mother run off to Aruba with a hit man named Ford? And exactly what is the difference between a man labeled a "doughnut" and one who deserves the title "muffin"? Faking It is a hilarious, warm novel with a cast of quirky and wonderful characters that endear while they charm." --Lois Faye Dyer -- (Amazon review.)
Faking It would make an absolutely wonderful movie, although the sex scenes would have to be toned down quite a bit. Crusie describes them vividly. Those scenes are not gratuitous, though. They are definitely part of the story.
The Blue Bistro, by Elin Hilderbrand. "Hilderbrand sets her sophisticated romance novel against the glamorous backdrop of Nantucket Island. Adrienne Dealey is anxious to put Aspen behind her, for it was the scene of her latest disastrous romance with a man of dubious character. Her previous stint as a concierge lands her a job as hostess at an upscale oceanfront restaurant. Charming, boyish owner Thatcher Smith has put the multimillion-dollar property up for sale and intends to close the Blue Bistro for good by summer's end. Other restaurant workers include a handsome, flirtatious bartender; his jealous, hardworking girlfriend; and a publicity-seeking pastry chef. As the romance between Thatcher and Adrienne heats up, his close, secretive relationship with reclusive, enormously talented chef Fiona Kemp, with whom he eats dinner every night, becomes a problem. Hilderbrand keeps things moving briskly in between sumptuous descriptions of food, drink, and tableware, throwing in an in-depth lesson on the restaurant business for good measure. Fun, stylish, and absorbing vacation reading." --Joanne Wilkinson-- Copyright © American Library Association. (Booklist review.)
The love story in The Blue Bistro is almost heartbreaking. This is the first Hilderbrand novel I've read and I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I want a sequel. I want to know what happens afterward. I think I will be reading some more of this author's novels.
When I was growing up, there were always books in the house. My mother subscribed to a book club. I remember having a laughing fit over Kipling's Just So Stories, especially "How the Whale Got Its Throat." I thoroughly enjoyed the two-volume novel The Tontine, by Thomas B. Costain. And one year when we went to the beach in the summer, I took along Gone with the Wind. My mother fussed at me for staying inside reading, but I was engrossed in that book. I read Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor, a book in which the text on the pages was in two columns rather than spread across the whole page. Several times I read a novel called Freedom's Way, whose author I can't remember, but I loved that book. Books were my entertainment and sometimes my refuge.
I hope you have been happily reading. I know it's one of my favorite activities.