Saturday, December 8, 2007

What I've been reading #3

In the last weeks I have read some truly wonderful books!
Away by Amy Bloom was recommended by my good friend Ellen, who is in Maine. She and I worked together and have a very similar taste in books. I always trust her recommendations, and she has lead me to some wonderful authors. Away is the story of Lillian Leyb, who immigrates to The United States from Russia in the 1920s. Lillian fears her daughter Sophie was killed during a pogrom but finds out she is still alive and so sets off to find her. Lillian is an engaging heroine, determined to do whatever she has to to make her way. It is well written, funny, and not as sad as one might think.

It reminded me of another book I read on Ellen's recommendation The Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens. This is another immigrant story, this time Irish and told by Fergus O'Brien. Fergus relates his story as he is driven off his family's small holding by the potato famine, and travels to Dublin, Montreal and Boston. Behrens is a wonderful and poetic writer and I will be looking out for more books by him.

souvlaki from avlyx, via flickr.

I love reading mysteries of most varieties and have read two wonderful ones recently. Nice Try by Shane Moloney is the third in the Murray Whelan series. It felt a bit like a souvlaki to me - immensely satisfying in a slightly guilty way. It is very funny, and being set in my part of the world even more interesting to me.

I went to hear Ian Rankin on his recent book tour, and he was saying that a number of well known authors are living in Edinburgh now. He mentioned that Kate Atkinson is writing mysteries, and he recommended them. I read One Good Turn and can endorse it with enthusiasm. Great characters and lots about the Edinburgh Festival from a somewhat sardonic view. And the plot twist that is revealed on the last page was a kicker!

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