Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Spellman Files by, Lisa Lutz

This is a fun book. Thanks for the recommendation Alisha!

The book jacket compares it to Harriet the Spy, and Nancy Drew for grown-ups. I think its a fair comparison. The story is about a family of P.I.s. It's written from Izzy's 20-something perspective. She has case files, transcripts, and charming lists.

I enjoyed the style of the book, the spunky characters, and it has a couple of good mysteries too. The Spellmans are good mix of dysfunction and love. The details had me cracking up. For example, the tennis uniforms, paying the little sister, the tattoos. Good cover too.

I recommend this book! (Just a warning, there are a handful of f-words.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by, Nick Bantock

This is a pretty little book. The story is told through postcards, and letters that you actually pull out of an envelope to read. Not all the artwork is pretty, but I love the idea of the book. The story is intriguing, but the entire book felt more like a chapter. SO I quickly put requests in for the other 5 books of the series. Hopefully they'll come in quick.

The basic summary is that an artist, Griffin, receives a postcard from a woman who lives on a tiny island. As they correspond, she explains that she can see his artwork as he creates it. Their letters draw you in, and I'm really excited to see where the story will go.

**As a side note, my anesthesiologist when I was in labor with Laney told me about these books. We were having a discussion about the names of my children. I was impressed that he had a literary reference for each of their names that I was unfamiliar with. Of course I don't remember what Delaney and Nolan were. I think they were authors. Its nice the conversation was good, because the epidural wasn't. It only took on one side, and someone had to come fix it, give me another shot of it, which resulted in cement leg on the left side for many hours. But I digress.....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by, Muriel Barbery

Loved it. Absolutely. Thank you Graham for finding this gem. And thank you Wendy for reading it right before me and putting up with me talking about it so much on our trip. This book is French. It has been translated. Both of the main characters are endearing. I loved them, hence loved the book.

Paloma and Renee each have "the elegance of the hedgehog: on the outside, she's covered in quills, a real fortress, but my gut feeling is that on the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary--and terribly elegant."
I took a lot of notes, I'll spare you most of them, but really I'd love to write them all up.
Here are a few that I really liked:

Madame Michel writes about her husband's last days, and going to a movie, "he had placed his trust in what we had said to each other without any need for words."
I love that, not just the point she is making, but the lovely way it is written.

Or, Paloma while visiting her grandma in a rest home, says, "I was ripe for despair. Then suddenly I remembered that I had decided to build and not destroy. I looked all around me for something positive," I love the dramatics of Paloma's emotions, because that's how we are as teenagers. Lots of things she said cracked me up.

"If you think about it carefully, there is nothing uglier than an open door." Renee is explaining why the Japanese sliding doors are so much better. And still talking about Japanese design, "Maybe we're all sick with this too much of everything."

I'll admit that there are times when Renee's philosophical musings begin to lose me. But enough of what she says is really good stuff, that I like her.

One more Paloma quote, "So when they sing a canon I look down at the ground because it's just too much emotion at once: it's too beautiful, and everyone singing together, this marvelous sharing."

That is one of the themes running in this book, noticing those pure moments of beauty.

I will state that the ending is not what I really wanted or expected. I won't say anymore. But it's still a great book.

I hope more of you will read it because this is totally in my top 10.