I haven’t updated my book goal on the year for a while. I’m getting through some books! I am on schedule to hit 30 this year (my goal).
When I last left off, I was just getting into To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Is there anyone who hasn’t read this? I actually hadn’t. Not sure why it wasn’t on a required reading list. Anyway, for those that haven’t, this is the story of young Scout and her older brother Jem and basically how they learn about the harsh realities of the world after a a black man is put on trial (wrongly) for sexually assaulting a white woman. Their father is the defendant’s attorney and it divides a town. It was made into a movie starring Gregory Peck, and while I have seen snippets of that on TCM from time to time, I have never seen the whole thing. I need to do that.
After that book and the previous couple of books, I needed something that wasn’t so depressing. Enter The Anatomist’s Apprentice by Tessa Harris.
Okay, that doesn’t sound so uplifting and it was a bit grisly at times. This is the first in a series of detective novels. The apprentice is American Dr. Thomas Silkstone, who really is not much of an apprentice as the next great anatomist in 18th century England. In this book, he gets involved trying to solve the murder of Lady Lydia Farrell’s brother, which is blamed on her husband. Is he or isn’t he the real killer? Dr. Silkstone is a pioneer in forensics and uses what he knows of anatomy and the study of death to try to solve the murder, along with falling for Lady Lydia. This was a good book, breezy reading and I will probably read some of the other books in the series.
Then I decided to read something everyone else has read. Outlander by Dianna Gabaldon.
This is the story of Claire Randall, a nurse from 1954 who accidentally finds a portal in Scotland that whisks her back in time 200 years. There she meets Jamie and they fall in love and traipse through Scotland going through battles and the like. The premise sounded really interesting and it was at first. However, I will just say that I didn’t like this book. It was tooooo long and the constant English/Scottish skirmishes were getting boring. Then don’t get me started on the love story. It was fine at first, but when it went down the road of spousal abuse and the heroine being okay with that – game over. I don’t care if people defend it as ‘that’s how it was back then’ – I feel like Claire really wouldn’t be okay with it. She is a fairly strong character and it just didn’t make sense. Anyway, I slogged my way through the book and I will not be reading any of the others in the series. Sorry to those that loved this — I don’t get it.
The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett
In the same vein as The Club Dumas (only without the devil), this is an antiquarian book mystery. It’s the story of Peter Byerly, a new widower, who finds a watercolor drawing of a Victorian woman who is the spitting image of his dead wife while perusing old books. He then goes on a search to find out more about the artist and gets mixed up in an old family feud about the origins of a newly discovered Shakespeare work after being hired to confirm its authenticity. The story of current day is intertwined with the story of how he met and married Amanda – then how these stories intersect. It was a good book, although a bit simplistic in the characters at times. It certainly was a fast read and you can tell the author has a love of old books.
Just finished was The Templeton Monsters by Lauren Groff.
This is the story of Willie, the descendent of the founders of the town of Templeton (pretty much Cooperstown, NY renamed). She comes home pregnant and disgraced after an affair with her archeology professor. At the same time, the monster of Lake Glimmerglass dies and comes floating to the surface confirming rumors. Willie is informed by her mother that her father (previously unknown to her) was actually a man in Templeton, but won’t say who. Willie uses her research skills to dig through her family history to find any ties as to who her father is, all the while trying to come to terms with her friend’s illness, her pregnancy, and reconnecting with high school friends. The story wanders into a strange area of ghosts and paranormal activity, which I didn’t really like. The monster was fine and an interesting side story, but the ghost stuff? I don’t believe in ghosts and the one in this story was a little too deus ex machina. I also didn’t care for Willie that much. It’s hard to read if you don’t like the main character when I think we are supposed to. She was spoiled and had rage issues. The other thing was that the main plot was Willie discovering who her father was and by the end of the book, I didn’t even care. I do like how the author created little charts and put in doctored photos to make it seem like a real historical novel. I sort of waffle between liking the book or not, but it would be worth a summer read.
Now to find the next book!