Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Reading in the Texas Sun

I didn't get on the computer much last week, but I did read quite a few books--paper books while I waited for the plane to reach 10,000 feet, and kindle books while they trundled coffee and sodas down the aisles. They trundled a choice of snacks as well--Southwest is good that way. Unfortunately even the nuts had wheat in them, so I feasted myself on words instead of solid food. It was a very nice feast, and better for the waistline, which was most deliciously fed at other times on barbeques, seafood and Texmex.

Anyway, here's a list of books and links (as always) to reviews on gather or summit or wherever...

Literary delights: These ones get 4-star coffee ratings to go with the very best, rich, elegant, smooth drinks.

Expiration Date by Sherril Jaffe: Published this month by the Permanent Press, Expiration Date follows Flora as she waits for the Angel of Death to visit her. Meanwhile her 80-year-old mother Muriel escapes the angel's visits and seems more alive than ever, while Flora's husband, a rabbi, soothes the bereaved and dying, and games of bridge follow their rigid rules. A lovely, loving book touched with humor, beauty and hope.

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, by Jenny Wingfield: Coming in July, this is a beautiful story of an Arkansas family moving back to the family farm when preacher Samuel loses his job. Filled with very real characters, guilty and innocent alike, the story's as wide as the countryside, as wise as the farmer's hand, and as deep as a young girl's hurt. A story to remember and come back to.

Heaven Sent, by Xavier Leret is set in Bristol England and tells of a Catholic boy from an overly religious family meeting up with a child prostitute. Both of them outcasts on the streetcorner, they form a dangerous friendship. Carlo's attempts to empathize with Daisy lead him to the seamiest side of the city. A wonderful coming-of-age story meshing dark experience with the dictates of religious rules and heavenly mercy, this is a book to savor and remember long after reading.

Variations on a Theme with Harmonica, by Cheryl Snell is a set of interlocking short stories, musically beautiful and thought-provoking. No simple tales in this, but ideas that linger long after the stories are read--real people playing the wounded music of their lives.

Fantasy (or something like it). These books get three coffee stars for balanced, smooth, full-flavored drinking and characters and plot.

Breath of Angel, by Karyn Henley: This is the first in a "circle" of books (how many books make a circle?). There's a fascinating underlying mythology beautifully revealed as the story progresses, with intriguing hints of Christianity underlying the tale of angels seeking to regain the stairway to heaven after the sacred tree's been destroyed.

Clarity, by Kim Harrington
tells the tale of a teenaged girl, her brother and her mother in Eastport on Cape Cod. They're blessed, or cursed, with paranormal sight, but Clare (or Clarity's) natural sight isn't always as clear as it might be, and sometimes knowing too much about your friends can leave you friendless.

And a Spy Story. Two star coffee--bright, lively, easy drinking.

Pandora's Succession, by Russell Brooks: This one's more sci-fi than fantasy; high-tech viruses, secret Russian bases, evil scientists and religious cults collide in an exciting, James_Bond-type tale, introducing secret agent Ridley Fox. This one's fun, and I'm hoping to read another by the same author soon.

One final note, Author Xavier Leret will be my guest on this blog tomorrow, so don't forget to come back and read what he has to say. I really enjoyed Heaven Sent--not an easy read, but not an easy book to put down either.


Laura Eno said...

Yay! More book reviews!

maryrussel said...

I also read Breath of Angel and reviewed it on my blog. I'll have to go see what you said about it on Gather.