Monday, 5 January 2009

New Year, New Books!

I read lots of books over the holidays* so I'll group them by author.

Agatha Raisin and Love, Lies and Liquor was another good one in the series, where Agatha goes on holiday to a town with the unlikely name of Snoth-on-Sea and of course murder ensues ...

The non-fiction Bad Science by Ben Goldacre was excellent. If you have ever listened to TV nutritionists telling you things like "take milk thistle to support your liver function" and have wondered how exactly it would do that, Ben Goldacre gives you the scientific facts to be able to resist this sort of mumbo-jumbo. "Sciencey" skin cream advertising comes in for his scorn as well. It's a very funny as well as factual book and well worth reading.

I finally finished the Charlie Parker series by John Connolly, with The Reapers which Mr F was kind enough to buy for me in hardback for Christmas. Thanks Mr F! This one takes a slightly different angle from the other books but ties up many loose ends.

I continued the adventures of the Roman private detective Marcus Didius Falco in the series by Lindsey Davis. In The Iron Hand of Mars Marcus goes to Germania with a mystery to solve. The dark forests of the north are very scary ... He returns succesfully for Poseidon's Gold and looks set to make a fortune.

Alison Lurie is a new author for me. She is an American whose work has been compared to Jane Austen and that is true I think in that she writes about a small social circle and her works could be considered comedies of manners. Her books are mainly set around the fictional Corinth university and will be particulary interesting to anyone with academic connections. The War between the Tates and Truth and Consequences both feature academics behaving badly, with the latter "starring" the monster of selfishness Delia. The Last Resort is potentially a tragedy but you will suddenly find yourself laughing at the most outrageous moments.

Second Glance is a book by Jodi Picoult and is as involving as usual. This is a love story and a mystery first of all, as well as a social commentary on the misguided enthusiasm by some Americans in the 1930s for eugenics. Funny how eugenics are only ever to be applied to other people ...

Ann Rule is the author of many true crime books. I had read Small Sacrifices before but had forgotten some of the details of the mother accused of shooting her own children in 1980s Oregon. Ann Rule is well worth reading: she does not focus on the sensational aspects of a crime, but rather on the psychological aspects.

Death du Jour is by Kathy Reichs. The author is a real-life forensic anthropologist. This mystery was involving and I wasn't put off by the descriptions body recovery from crime scenes. Ironically I was put off by so much detail that it became rather tedious!

Finally I read Night Sins by Tami Hoag. This author has been recommended to me before and she does write a good crime novel. However I got rather fed up with the romance which kept intruding when I wanted to read more about the solving of the crime!

*although not as many as I thought! I've only caught up by one book.

Day 89; Book 87