Monday, August 18, 2014

Snatching reading time from the jaws of Ikea

It was a busy (and long) weekend. Kiddo flew, by the scenic route, from Utah to Oregon, his flight transformed and delayed by whoever ran a baggage cart into the plane, and my drive to the airport to meet him delayed by traffic. In the end a two-and-a-half hour flight took him most of the day, and we avoided traffic jams on the way home by stopping off at Ikea. We bought a mattress,  rug, and some pots and pans.

Next day we shopped all the other local stores, looking for such essentials of life as paper towels, soap, cleaning materials, and occasional cushions to brighten the new apartment. Then on Saturday we helped the lad move in. It's a really nice apartment. The lack of internet and freezer (great fridge though) are certainly a problem--beer but no pizza perhaps, and no computer games--but one he hopes will be quickly resolved.

And on Sunday we returned to Ikea: Kallax cubes to divide the room, sofa bed for guests, a desk, a chair... Much building of furniture ensued, to be continued, and occasional drinks were consumed to revive our flagging spirits. So that's when I snatched occasional miniature patches of reading time, hence this batch of book reviews:

Grab a coffee, or choose your book first and pick your coffee to match...

First is Sanctuary, by Aaron Paul Lazar--a full-length novel that I was just finishing as kiddo's adventures began. It continues the Tall Pines series of cozy mysteries and should be coming soon, to a bookstore near you. And it's a cool blend of fun and terror, where faith, mystery, spirits, healing oils and genuine good humor win over cruelty and murderous intent. Look out for it, or read the first two mysteries in preparation. And enjoy them all with some well-balanced, smooth-flavored three-star coffee.

Next is London, the doggy and me, by Rosen Trevithick, a short and zany British romance about a downtrodden sweet wannabe actress who volunteers to care for a dog while interviewing in London. The audition goes slightly better than the dog-sitting, which is not saying much, and animal lovers may be slightly dismayed by the novella's sad revelation. But it's a fun tale, the tail suffers, and the depiction of London is very evocative and real. Enjoy with a lively, easy-drinking two star cup of coffee.

Another short tale is Ronnie Ray Jenkins' What to do about Arthur. Grim and dark, it tells of a young woman, married to an elderly man, eager to claim his inheritance. But how it will all turn out is a mystery right to the end. Enjoy this dark tale with a bold dark 5-star coffee.

Without Fear, by Vincent Alma, is a lovely fable of fear, loneliness, success and failure as a quietly unsatisfied farmers strive to conquer the fears that hold him back from revealing the hero he must surely be. The language is fluid and unstrained, and the parable is well-told through thought-provoking dialog. Is fear the enemy? Ask its different faces and decide for yourself over a richly elegant 4-star coffee.

Another enjoyable short tale is Cinnamon and Honey, by Annmarie Banks, set at the time of the Inquisition, as Muslims and Jews flee Spain. It offers a brief glimpse into a different world, introduces characters from the author's longer works, and feels wonderfully authentic, from ocean battle to partying policymakers. Enjoy with a short full-flavored 3-star coffee.

Finally, one more short read is Dog’s Coffee-Shop, but Uncle Amos and Edith Ordan, a lovely little picture book for children, where dogs enjoy their drinks under the New York City skyline and discuss the vagaries of their humans. Share this one with the kids, but keep the lively easy-drinking 2-star coffee for yourself.

No comments: