Recent Books

* “The Penelopiad”:amazon by Margaret Atwood. Not sure why I decided to make this book my 3rd Atwood. Well written and engaging but you probably need to be very well-versed in Greek myth to fully enjoy, and I am not. Amazon says 4 stars, “metacritic gives a 74”:http://www.metacritic.com/books/authors/atwoodmargaret/penelopiad, these both seem a little high to me, I’d say 3.5 stars.
* “Arthur and George”:amazon by Julian Barnes. A fictional retelling of the odd true story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his defense of George Edalji, who was falsely convicted of animal mutilation and other crimes. Oddly engaging although drags a bit in the middle. Amazon says 4.5 stars, “metacritic gives a 79”:http://www.metacritic.com/books/authors/barnesjulian/arthurandgeorge. I’d say 4 stars, this is quite a good book, I was suprised at the end to discover just how much of this story was true.
* “Ordinary Thunderstorms”:amazon by William Boyd. No good deed goes unpunished — a man tries to return some papers left mistakenly at a restaurant and stumbles into a murder, is chased by the police and the cabal behind the murder, takes to the streets, is mugged, changes his identity, and very nearly loses his life. His impetuous decisions bring him to the brink and his wits eventually lead him out. Fun tale. Amazon says 3.5 stars, not listed on metacritic. I’d say 3.5 stars, I enjoyed this as much or more than the Atwood.
* “People of the Book”:amazon by Geraldine Brooks. A book conservator puzzles out the history of an ancient Jewish text. The story is fleshed out with flashback chapters to the historical characters who created and preserved the text. Thankfully avoids veering off into the Dan Brown/National Treasure realm, but doesn’t quite replace silly adventure with emotional depth despite attempts to do so — ultimately the characters were a little thin. Amazon says 4 stars, not listed on metacritic, I’d say 3.5 stars — a solid and engaging tale but could have used a bit more character depth.