Monday, April 7, 2014

Slow can mean so many different things

I read a lovely book at the weekend. Fastflowing language with hauntingly evocative descriptions, a curious blend of multiple first-person viewpoints, a wonderfully strange storyline as the tale evolved, and a great mix of showing and telling. It was called "Slow." I read another novel where characters fell in love in the space between paragraphs, but could take pages to open a door. There's was lots of action, and plenty to think about, but it was a really slow read. Then I read a novel about a character whose family thought he was "slow." And I enjoyed a nice slow lazy afternoon watching (English) football on TV. One slow, and so many different meanings...

Anyway, if you'd like to brew a quick or slow cup of coffee, here are some book reviews from my weekend's reads--with coffee recommendations of course.

I'll start with Slow, By Digonta Bordoloi. Set in a slower time in India, it depicts life and culture beautifully, as everyone encourages slow Baba to settle down and work. After all, he's not unintelligent; he's just more interested in what the world can teach than in his teachers. The story's wonderfully evocative and beautifully told, though there's a rather jarring change in the middle as the world quickly leaps to the present day. And then... well, in the end the change isn't so jarring after all and it all makes a really intriguing kind of sense. Enjoy with a well-balanced smooth cup of full-flavored 3-star coffee.

Lacey Took a Holiday, by Lazarus M. Barnhill is another enjoyably evocative read, set in the US soon after the first world war. A wounded man kidnaps a woman from a brothel and offers a newer, slower, gentler way of life. But neither he nor she can believe they're worthy of the others' love. It should be cliche, but it's not, and this tale of characters with depth, in a deeply imagined and very real world, would be great to enjoy with a lively, easy-drinking cup of 2-star coffee.

Knight of the Dead, by Jennifer Rae Gravely is a more modern romance, with the traditional miscommunications and secrets, a sweetly precocious child who wants a mommy, and a nice pairing of rich guy with poor girl living out of her car. Threads of faith and danger, wise and foolish taking of risks, family loyalties, and, of course, fast-paced romance take center stage. Enjoy with a lively, easy-drinking 2-star cup of coffee.

Then there's Bella Maura, by Dawn Dyson, a languidly poetic read with rapid romance, fast changes of scenery, and plenty of serious intent. There's another sweetly precocious child, but this one tells haunting stories, and her prayers might soon be needed to save those she loves. Meanwhile a young woman plays mother to the broken women of the city, while writing best-selling novels, and falling in love with a wonderful musician. It's a dark, intense tale, best enjoyed with some dark, intense 5-star cups of coffee.

Another tale of a woman overcoming abuse is A. F. Stewart's Gothic Cavalcade. When the scared woman is offered shelter in the strange carnival it's hard not to wonder what could be about to go wrong. But this is a short story that cleverly keeps its readers guessing, unsettling assumptions and building to two truly exciting climaxes before it reveals the carnival's wonderful secret. Enjoy with a bold, dark, intense cup of 5-star coffee.

And finally, here's another scary short story, with a perfect blend of sweet and scary herbs and spices on top. Spectral Delivery, by Eric Garrison delivers its pizzas (rapidly) to the Dudes' door, the witches' door, and... well, and somewhere and somebody else. In the meantime new girl Enid learns the ropes of more than just pizza delivery. Enjoy with a lively easy-drinking 2-star coffee.


No comments: