A bit of spit and polish and these will do nicely

August 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm Leave a comment

I read three books fairly close together.  None of the three are really entirely notable enough to have a review on their own but each book had its own charm.

1. Prisoner of Heaven, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Published in 2012 –
This is another book in Zafon’s “Shadow of the Wind” series and while you do not need to read the other two books I would highly suggest it.  First and foremost the other two are much better and second it just makes this book more interesting already knowing the characters.  And as I have said over and over again (sorry) reading “Shadow of the Wind” is a must, it is just that good.

I was a little disappointed with “Prisoner of Heaven” – this could just be that measuring up to the first books is a tall order.  But regardless, it was still fun.

2. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter, Published in 2012 – Set in the 1960s, Pasquel runs a hotel in a remote town, Porto Vergogna, in Italy. He seldom has guests and feels trapped because he is stuck running the hotel that was his parents’ dream not his.  This all changes when one day a beautiful American actress straight off the set of the film disaster “Cleopatra” shows up at Pasquel’s hotel.  The actress had a small part in the film but had to leave the set suddenly and was sent to the remote town by the producer.

The novel bounces back and forth between the incidents that changed both Pasquel and the actress’ lives in the 60s and the present.  The characters are quirky and lovable.  The story is really cute, not deep or amazing, but charming enough.

3. The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown, published in 2011- Out of these three books this one was my favorite.  The three sisters grew up in the small college town of Barnwell, Ohio. Their father was a Shakespearean professor, often using cryptic quotes from Shakespeare’s plays in conversation while their mother stayed at home to raise them, but was often absent-mindedly distracted and disorganized.

When the girls are all adults their mother is diagnosed with cancer and all three find themselves back at home in Barnwell, Ohio struggling, in one way or another, with their life choices.  Rosalind, who always lived near Barnwell, thinks of herself as the lynchpin of the family. She is torn between her fiance who has moved to London and her desire to be needed by her family.  Bianca, who immediately left the nest and moved to New York, has found herself in a severe financial crisis and in the quiet of Barnwell she is stuck examining her poor choices.  Cordelia has spent years wandering and has now found out that she is pregnant and in desparate need of some stability.

Of course the three must sort through their lives not being exactly what they planned while coming to terms with the restrictions that their relationship with each other creates. There is also the effortless love and support that their relationship as sisters allows.  “Your story is the story of your sisters. And it is past time, I think, for you to stop telling that story, and tell the story of yourself. Stop defining yourself in terms of them.” 

All three of these books will do if you are looking for a fun read but maybe not if you are trying to find the next Pulitzer. But then hey, not everything can win the Pulitzer right?

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Entry filed under: August 2012 reads. Tags: , , , , .

“Where there’s life, there’s hope”- “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay A vacation from your problems – “Seating Arrangements” by Maggie Shipstead

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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.

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