25 Women to Read Before You Die

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Artist has commented on (6) products.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

Artist, June 23, 2015

Bill Bryson brings exactly the right combination of good writing, accessibility, and humor that makes "Walk in the Woods" a perfect summer book. I'm starting "Neither Here Nor There" (about his travels in Europe) based on this initial exposure to him. Bryson's compulsive organization for walking the Appalachian trail, paranoia about dangers along the trail, and clear eyed appraisal of the ambiguous pleasures of being exhausted, dirty, and obsessed with a sit-down hamburger experience in a backwater rural eatery made his experiences real for me. The hardships are worth his very well described transcendent moments of pure pleasure in the beauty of the land, the light, and the solitude of walking the trail. He is a very funny man. I found myself laughing out loud so often in the book. Most humorous was his fantasy about Mr.Bojangles. You'll know it when you come across it.
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Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny
Rule Against Murder

Artist, November 22, 2014

Louise Penny is rapidly becoming one of my favorite crime writers. Part of this is the careful crafting of her books, so each ending is a surprise, and holds my interest right until the end. The second reason is her use of Three Pines; a town that can only be equated to Brigadoon, a kind of magic, isolated place near the Vermont border in Quebec. There is no cel phone accessibility, but the place is populated by eccentric characters, (artists, a deranged poetess, B&B owners, and widespread gourmet cooking. I wish she'd do a cookbook.) Except for the occasional murder, it is a place that calls to me; becoming almost a character in its own right. Her voice, which I think is also that of the main character Gamache, is kind, compassionate, and intelligent. I have a plan now to read her Three Pines mysteries in sequence, starting with the first; Still Life. Evidently she's simply been off my radar but has not gone un-noted in the wider community: the New Blood Dagger from the British Crime Writers Association, the Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada, the Anthony and Barry Awards at Bouchercon, as well as the Dilys Award. the Agatha Award, and others.
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The Way of All Fish by Martha Grimes
The Way of All Fish

Artist, September 21, 2014

This is Martha Grimes' sequel to "Foul Matter" and is, in my opinion, even funnier than the first in the series. The scrupulous hitmen; Candy and Karl are back, as are the best selling writer, Paul Giverney, and the deranged publisher Robert Mackenzie. This time the ethical killers are trying to put right a situation where a sensitive writer is being sued by her former agent; who is attempting to secure a cut of her novel. Raw ambition and greed within the murky world of publishing create the background to very funny, layered plot of "gas lighting" the agent, protecting the writer, and negotiating the complex world of punishing. (It wouldn't be so funny if there weren't these strong elements of truth.)
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Midnight Crossroad (A Novel of Midnight, Texas #1) by Charlaine Harris
Midnight Crossroad (A Novel of Midnight, Texas #1)

Artist, September 13, 2014

Charlaine Harris, the author who created the Southern Vampire series on which True Blood is based, has started a new trilogy. The first in the series is the novel Midnight Crossroad and it is just in time for Halloween. Midnight Texas, is as much of a "character" as Bon Temps was in Harris' earlier and highly successful writing. It's a town, which is chosen by the various spookily talented population, for its isolation, and for the presence of other like minded inhabitants; a vampire, medium, witch, etc.. The town is located at the cross road of Witch Light and Davy Roads. There is a sense of classic Western desert locale, equipped with cactus and ravines and a pervading sense of danger.

Our main character seems to be the new arrival to the town, Manfred Bernardo, who works from his house as a psychic. We gradually discover the mysteries of the town and its inhabitants through his eyes. It remains to be seen if he will have the staying power of Sookie Stackhouse. My money is on the ditzy Witch who's both funny and engaging. Harris is a great storyteller, revealing the secrets of the town by degrees; enough so that the reader feels a part of the environment and population.

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Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen
Bad Monkey

Artist, June 5, 2014

I'd forgotten just how funny Carl Hiaasen can be until I sat down with "Bad Monkey." I found myself laughing out loud. Andrew Yancy is the anti-hero, recently suspended from the Sheriff's Department in the Florida Keys, and given the replacement job of "roach-inspector." The plot of Yancy's investigations is like a joy ride and includes a frozen human arm, a monkey with a vitamin deficiency, sympathetic arson, sub-plots of typical Floridian venality and corruption, and love with Medical Examiner Rosa Campesino, all set against the tropical splendor of the Keys and the Bahamas. Hiaasen's pet peeve, the rampant development of Florida's wilds into MacMansions, is there as are murders of the questionable villains, a deranged and deadly voodoo queen, and one episode with a hand held vacuum which once described cannot be forgotten. It really is the very definition of light, enjoyable summer reading.
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