Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


 
It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. For this meme, bloggers post what they finished last week, what they're currently reading, and what they plan to start this week.
My comments are not meant to be recaps of the story lines as I include a link to Goodreads for their synopsis of the book. I am merely stating how I felt about the book without giving any spoilers.


We are currently in Mazatlan Mexico so I tend to read two books at a time, a "soft" one on my e-reader and then a "hard" book when lying in the sun.

25 COMPLETED READS TO DATE!

FINISHED:


Inside

As Grace notes, “There is a difference between the facts of a person and the truth of him.”  It was sometimes hard to keep track of the characters and the time periods. I liked that it was set in Montreal, where I grew up, and I could relate to the geography.

POOL READING
Prior Bad Acts (Kovac/Liska, #3)

New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag returns with a thriller that begins with a shocking crime scene you'll never forget and follows two relentless detectives on a manhunt that ends in a chilling confrontation with the essence of human evil. PRIOR BAD ACTS It was a crime so brutal, it changed the lives of even the most hardened homicide cops. The Haas family murders left a scar on the community nothing can erase, but everyone agrees that convicting the killer, Karl Dahl, is a start. Only Judge Carey Moore seems to be standing in the way. Her ruling that Dahl's prior criminal record is inadmissible raises a public outcry--and puts the judge in grave danger. When an unknown assailant attacks Judge Moore in a parking garage, two of Minneapolis's top cops are called upon to solve the crime and keep the judge from further harm. Detective Sam Kovac is as hard-boiled as they come, and his wisecracking partner, Nikki Liska, isn't far behind. Neither one wants to be on this case, but when Karl Dahl escapes from custody, everything changes, and a seemingly straightforward case cartwheels out of control. The stakes go even higher when the judge is kidnapped-snatched out of her own bed even as the police sit outside, watching her house. Now Kovac and Liska must navigate through a maze of suspects that includes the stepson of a murder victim, a husband with a secret life, and a rogue cop looking for revenge where the justice system failed. With no time to spare, the detectives are pulled down a strange dark trail of smoke and mirrors, where no one is who they seem and everyone is guilty of Prior Bad Acts.

I enjoyed the characters, they felt real. Lots of good twists and turns.

The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars

On Long Island, a farmer finds a duck pond turned red with blood. On the Lower East Side, two boys playing at a pier discover a floating human torso wrapped tightly in oilcloth. Blueberry pickers near Harlem stumble upon neatly severed limbs in an overgrown ditch. Clues to a horrifying crime are turning up all over New York, but the police are baffled: There are no witnesses, no motives, no suspects.

The grisly finds that began on the afternoon of June 26, 1897, plunged detectives headlong into the era's most baffling murder mystery. Seized upon by battling media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, the case became a publicity circus. Reenactments of the murder were staged in Times Square, armed reporters lurked in the streets of Hell's Kitchen in pursuit of suspects, and an unlikely trio — a hard-luck cop, a cub reporter, and an eccentric professor — all raced to solve the crime.

What emerged was a sensational love triangle and an even more sensational trial: an unprecedented capital case hinging on circumstantial evidence around a victim whom the police couldn't identify with certainty, and who the defense claimed wasn't even dead. The Murder of the Century is a rollicking tale — a rich evocation of America during the Gilded Age and a colorful re-creation of the tabloid wars that have dominated media to this day.

Disappointing. The crime of passion was unlikely the murder of the century.  What amde the book interesting, to me, was the history of the tabloid and the  rivalry between Hearst and Pulitzer.
 Individual chapters on Hearst and Pulitzer would have been much more edifying. 
 How did this murder 'scandalize a city'? What were people saying?

Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training

At forty-four, Tom Jokinen decided to quit his job in order to become an apprentice undertaker, setting out to ask the questions: What is the right thing to do when someone dies? With the marketplace offering new options (go green, go anti-corporate, go Disney, be packed into an artificial reef and dropped in the Atlantic...), is there still room for tradition? In a year of adventures both hair-raising and hilarious, Jokinen finds a world that is radically changed since Jessica Mitford revised The American Way of Death, more surprising than Six Feet Under, and even funnier and more illuminating than Stiff.If Bill Bryson were to apprentice at a funeral home, searching for the meaning of life and death, you’d have Curtains.

Not for the faint-hearted but an depth look at the funeral industry and the salesmen who work in it and how they ply their trade. Funny in many places. 
There are some matter-of-fact descriptions of the embalming and cremation processes. 
Since we all will die someday and many of us have already buried family members this should be required reading. It would help us make more educated decisions and likely save money dealing with these salesmen at an emotional point in our lives.

He's Gone
The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone.

As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.

This book suffers from being compared to Gone Girl , a definitely better book. This isn't meant to be a psychological thriller in my opinion. It delves into the mysteries of marriage and adultery.  It might make some squirm as she talks about many things we'd all prefer not to mention in polite company. 
The novel is really about the stories we tell ourselves and the actions we take to avoid loneliness and difficult truths.


STARTED:
1Q84 (1Q84, #1-3)
The long-awaited magnum opus from Haruki Murakami, in which this revered and bestselling author gives us his hypnotically addictive, mind-bending ode to George Orwell's 1984. 
The year is 1984. Aomame is riding in a taxi on the expressway, in a hurry to carry out an assignment. Her work is not the kind that can be discussed in public. When they get tied up in traffic, the taxi driver suggests a bizarre 'proposal' to her. Having no other choice she agrees, but as a result of her actions she starts to feel as though she is gradually becoming detached from the real world. She has been on a top secret mission, and her next job leads her to encounter the superhuman founder of a religious cult. Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange disturbance that develops over a literary prize. While Aomame and Tengo impact on each other in various ways, at times by accident and at times intentionally, they come closer and closer to meeting. Eventually the two of them notice that they are indispensable to each other. Is it possible for them to ever meet in the real world?


Not sure if I will finish this...

The Harmony Silk Factory

The Harmony Silk Factory is the textiles store run by Johnny Lim, a Chinese peasant living in rural Malay in the first half of the twentieth century. It is the most impressive and truly amazing structure in the region, and to the inhabitants of the Kinta Valley Johnny Lim is a Communist who fought the Japanese when they invaded, ready to sacrifice his life for the welfare of his people. But to his son, Jasper, Johnny is a crook and a collaborator who betrayed the very people he pretended to serve, and the Harmony Silk Factory is merely a front for his father's illegal businesses. Centering on Johnny from three perspectives are those of his grown son; his wife, Snow, the most beautiful woman in the Kinta Valley (through her diary entries); and his best and only friend, an Englishman adrift named Peter Wormwoodâ. The novel reveals the difficulty of knowing another human being, and how our assumptions about others also determine who we are.

6 comments:

  1. Yes, you do love to read!! Me, I love to move and since I'm old, I want to do that as much as possible!!!...:)JP

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  2. Wow, you finished quite a variety of books, they all look awesome!

    What We Read

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  3. What a great place to be reading. We would go to Mazatlan every year that my grandparent's had their timeshare. Enjoy.

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  4. I havent heard any of these but enjoy

    Those looks interesting. Enjoy

    Check out what we are reading this week.

    Leydy @ OUaT & Redcarpetendings

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  5. The Murder of the Century certainly sounds like a keeper. I'm sorry it was disappointing!

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  6. I thought I read a lot of books Jackie, but 25 already, I have no idea how you find the time. :)

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