Monday, September 22, 2008

Some good books

Because I am waiting for my latest yarn order to arrive (I will soon be knitting the Cropped Cardigan and the Drops Jacket), knitting has ground to a halt. I do have a yarn stash, but it consists mostly of 1 or 2 skeins of a particular yarn; certainly not enough of anything to make a whole sweater. This is how I like it - I want to be able to pick out the exact yarn I need for a sweater, rather than the other way around.

Meanwhile, I'd like to mention some good books I've read recently. As you might remember, one of my goals for this year is to read 50 books - as I've just finished #45, I'm definitely going to smash that goal!

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I have wanted to read this book every since it was recommended to me in middle school, even though I had no idea what it was about. When Ravelry's 20th Century book club picked it as their first selection, I had the perfect reason to finally pick it up. As it turns out, this book is about the second wife of a rich man, who moves into a mansion populated by all sorts of creepy servants who obviously resent her. All the new wife (whose name is never given) hears about is how her husband's first wife, Rebecca, was the most beautiful and classy woman who ever existed. When Rebecca was killed in a sailing accident, the whole household knew she could never be replaced. As the new wife struggles to make a place for herself, she learns that perhaps Rebecca was not so perfect after all...

The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston & Mario Spezi
There are a lot of people who won't watch scary movies because they just get too freaked out. I'm not this type of person, but after staying up late reading this book about a serial killer, I have to admit I half expected to find a schizophreic Italian hiding in my bathtub as I slipped into the bathroom in the dark. Written by a crime novelist and a journalist, this non-fiction work describes the case of a serial killer who stalked the Florence area from 1968-1985, murdering couples who were parked in the country, um, "getting it on" in their cars at night. While the book does have descriptions of the actual crimes, it is mostly focused on the police investigation. Apparently in Italy, you can be arrested even though there is no direct evidence against you, and you even don't have to be informed of the charges against you. During this circus of an investigation, hundreds of people were accused of being the killer, and one was even sentenced to death for crimes he obviously didn't commit. The killer has never been captured, but Preston & Spezi present a pretty convincing case for the guilt of one particular suspect. This was an excellent book, particularly because it revealed much about Italian society that is not immediately apparent to outsiders.

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Three seemingly unconnected cold cases appear at the beginning of the book. Years later, a private detective begins work on solving these three cases. The actual detective work is not the focus of the book, but rather the lives of the people involved. At the end, the three cases come together in a way that really blew my mind.

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
This is a long one, over 500 pages, but I really sped through it. In turn-of-the-century London, Fiona Finnegan bascially has every possible bad thing happen to her: her boyfriend gets another girl pregnant, and most of her family members die. Oh, and since she has figured out that her father was murdered, the murderers are after her. She has no choice but to flee to America and start a new life for herself. At times, the events seemed pretty far-fetched, as Fiona is only 17 but acts like she's 30, but this book was tasty brain candy.

Writing book reviews is hard! If you look over on my sidebar, there's a list of book bloggers who make it seem so easy. 
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