Archive for April, 2014

Review of The Right Attitude to Rain, by Alexander McCall Smith

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

The Right Attitude to Rain

by Alexander McCall Smith
performed by Davina Porter

Recorded Books, 2006. 8 CDs.

I started the Isabel Dalhousie series years ago, but lost interest. Now I’ve discovered the way to read them — on audio, when one can be entertained by the lovely Scottish accents.

It’s misleading that these are shelved in the mystery section, because they’re not traditional mysteries. Yes, a crime occurs — in the last part of the book, on the last CD. But Isabel doesn’t solve it, she philosophizes about it.

Isabel is a philosopher, independently wealthy, and the editor of an ethics journal. She keeps saying that she thinks too much, but the listener does enjoy the digressions which her thoughts take.

In this book, most of her musings are about her relationship with Jamie, a man 14 years younger than her, whom she has fallen in love with. So she thinks about every possible side of the ethics of that relationship. And Jamie was once the boyfriend of her niece Cat, so there’s that to consider as well. Meanwhile, Isabel’s cousin Mimi and her husband are visiting, and the whole group is invited to a house party given by a wealthy Texan and his fiancé. But is the fiancé just after his money? That’s what it seems like to Isabel.

Alexander McCall Smith’s books don’t have a plot that progresses at a rapid pace, and I think that has a lot to do with why I stopped reading this series. But listening to it in the car on the way to work and back is a delightful way to approach it. I find myself smiling at each new diversion and thinking about the philosophical implications during my day, but I haven’t had too much trouble shutting the car off when I get to work. (There were a couple times…) This book makes a pleasant travel companion, and I’m going to be quick to take up the next book in the series.

recordedbooks.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/right_attitude_to_rain.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Constable & Toop, by Gareth P. Jones

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Constable & Toop

by Gareth P. Jones

Amulet Books, New York, 2013. 391 pages.
Starred Review

I like the blurbs at the front of Constable & Toop. They’re by “The Ghost of Oscar Wilde,” “The Ghost of Dr. Johnson,” and other distinguished ghosts. The Ghost of Emily Brontë says, “I very much enjoyed the melancholy and tragedy contained within these pages. The humor was less to my taste.”

Sam Toop can talk to ghosts. The ghosts know him as a “Talker,” and often ask him to help them with their unfinished business, like give a message or uncover a hidden will. But there’s something terribly wrong at the church where one of the ghosts wants his body buried.

Meanwhile, Lapsewood has been doing his desk job faithfully, in death as in life. But when he gets transferred to another department, and expected to check on residents of haunted houses, as the past Outreach worker has gone missing, he also stumbles on something terribly wrong.

At the same time, Clara’s parents invite an exorcist to their home. As Clara had suspected, they did have a ghost haunting their home, but the exorcist banishes her. After that event, nothing feels right, but things are even worse after the body of a girl is found in their home.

Constable & Toop is set in Victorian London, at a time when people were obsessed with death and funerals and the supernatural. Gareth Jones spins an entertaining tale of plots and murderers, among the living and the dead, and good people who try to do their bit to help.

This story is highly imaginative, intricately plotted, and a whole lot of fun.

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/constable_and_toop.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Coming Back!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

My blog hadn’t been working for awhile… and then my computer broke! But now it looks like it’s working! So this is a test on my new computer!

Review of God Is Able, by Priscilla Shirer

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

God Is Able

by Priscilla Shirer

B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee, 2013. 157 pages.

A big thank you to my friend Ruth for giving me this book for Christmas!

God Is Able looks closely at Ephesians 3:20-21:

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Each chapter looks at one phrase from these verses, attempting to get all their gloriousness to sink into our hearts.

She writes in a colloquial style. She gives lots of examples and illustrations. The real power of this book, though, is in its ability to get you thinking about these powerful verses. Reading a chapter about each phrase only begins to do them justice.

BHPublishingGroup.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/god_is_able.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on my own copy, a gift from a friend.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

“Who Could That Be at This Hour?”

All the Wrong Questions, Book 1

by Lemony Snicket
read by Liam Aiken

Hachette Audio, 2012. 4 hours on 4 CDs.

I began listening to this new series by Lemony Snicket and was captivated. It’s got all of his clever humor without the sad plight of persecuted orphans that turned me off from A Series of Unfortunate Events.

We do have a 13-year-old kid – the young Lemony Snicket – setting off on his apprenticeship for a mysterious organization. His chaperone takes him to Stained-by-the-Sea, and they are told to return a mysterious statue to its rightful owner. However, Snicket quickly realizes the statue is already in the hands of its rightful owner. His chaperone doesn’t believe him, and they begin a crazy adventure.

The book is full of delightful, understated details. Stained-by-the-Sea, for example, is no longer by the sea, but there is a sinister forest of seaweed where sea used to be. The reader uses a wonderful matter-of-fact voice, eminently suitable for crime noir.

I love Lemony Snicket’s trademark, “which here means…”, always used in clever and funny ways. And the similes he uses are always bizarre, but apt. I wish I could give examples, but that’s a problem with an audiobook.

Lemony Snicket freely tells us that he was asking the wrong questions, and tells us what the right question would have been. But he doesn’t tell us what the answer would have been to the right question. That is only revealed with time.

Some pieces of the mystery are revealed in this book, but it’s definitely the beginning of something bigger. There are reportedly going to be four Wrong Questions. And I have already decided I’m going to be sure to listen to all of them.

LemonySnicketLibrary.com
HachetteAudio.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/who_could_that_be.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!