Category Archives: Book recommendations

Blog 700 – Looking Back to Blog #1

Because today is the day I publish my 700th blog post, I went back and found the first blog I posted to The Brissioni Blog. It happened to be a book blog and the Stieg Larsson books eventually became my picks for the best books I read in 2010. Ah, memories.

Search for laura joh rowlandSearch for the girl with the dragon tattooHave you read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson? It’s a sort of complicated mystery, corporate espionage,very Swedish kind of thing.If not you should. Mr. Larsson wrote three books about Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth Salander is a goth computer hacker with a very miserable past which we only learn about slowly. She is as much of a mystery as the mysteries she solves with Mikael. The second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire is also out. The third book is called The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and is due out very soon. These books were published a while ago in Sweden and recently translated into English. Unless he wrote some books before these, these are the only books he will write. After he delivered his three manuscripts to the publisher Larsson died. My sister saw that the film version of the first book was in town so we went to see it. The actors they chose to portray the characters were perfect for me (even the actress who portrayed Lisbeth, who I was very worried would not be portrayed the way I imagined her), and they were completely true to the plot. It was great. Lisbeth is a twisted heroine in the best 21st century fashion and the characters and their stories make for excellent fiction. Sweden is like a character too, dark and bizarrely work-a-day.

If you haven’t read the Laura Joh Rowland’s mysteries you are also in for a treat. They are set in the medieval Japan of shoguns and samarai but in other ways they are very modern mysteries. She has written quite a few book in the series:

  • Shin-Ju
  • Bundori
  • The Way of the Traitor
  • The Concubine’s Tattoo
  • The Samarai’s Wife
  • Black Lotus
  • The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria
  • The Dragon King’s Palace
  • The Perfumed Sleeve
  • The Assassin’s Touch
  • Red Chrysanthemum
  • The Snow Empress
  • The Fire Kimono
  • The Cloud Pavilion

These are fun and would make great summer reading.

September Book List

These books are new, but old enough to be in your library. It must be September, I’m thinking books again.
Faithful Place by Tana French – a detective goes home to investigate a “cold case” involving the girl he had wanted to run away with. Faithful Place was a place in his town.
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak – a friend is forcing me to put this book on my reading list and it does come with great “chops” – “an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul”
The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman – 2 sisters lead very different lives
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks – Katie, with a past, moves to a small town (Southport). She tries to remain aloof but falls in love. Her choices: run or face her past.
The Call: A Novel by Yannick Murphy – Reviewer Carol Schneck says “this sweet, funny novel – told in a series of call reports from a country vet – details the life of a family whose peace is shattered when their young son is left comatose from a hunting accident. …  an absolute delight to read.”
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – “a sophisticated and entertaining debut novel ( set in NYC in 1938) about an irresistible young woman with an uncommon sense of purpose”
The Magician King by Lev Grossman – fantasy fiction starring college grads, sounds unique
Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva – Spy story about terrorism with Gabriel Allon
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan – 3 generations of women in family beach house – “wickedly funny and emotionally resonant”
This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman – Bergamot family’s lovely life is in jeopardy when their son forwards a sex video of one of his classmates to others.
House of Holes by Nicholson Baker – children of parents who were performance artists and often used their children in their art arrive back home after their lives collapse and find their parents are planning one last performance
The Adjustment by Scott Phillips – a mind blowing, sex-positive escapade, a raunch fest.
French Lessons by Ellen Susman – a single day in Paris changes the lives of 3 Americans
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron –“ heartwarming, insightful and often laugh-out-loud funny”
Juliet by Anne Fortier – When Juliet Jacobs leaves for Italy per the instructions of her late aunt’s will she never imagines that she’ll be thrust into a family feud and a great romance
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton – Edie receives a 50-yer-old letter which leads her to a castle in Kent where her mother was taken as a child in WW II and to a better understanding of her mother
Private Life by Jane Smiley – husband’s obsession with science takes a dark turn on eve of WW II, Margaret must reassess her life
The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass – a 70 year old widower lets a progressive preschool move into his barn which transforms his life.

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