Archive | May, 2013

Two New, One Old

14 May

I have been reading, I promise. Every time I think “oh I should update the blog” I get distracted and do something else instead. So today I have THREE books to tell you about. One is older, I picked it up at the airport this weekend. The other two are so new they are not out yet. But will be soon/this summer. Here we go!

DefendingJacob

This should look familiar to…oh…a lot of you. It made a big splash when it came out over a year ago. The movie version is in the works. Basically it’s the perfect airplane read: Andy, an assistant DA, gets a call alerting him to the murder of an 8th grader in a wooded park area not too far from Andy’s own house. Andy follows the clues at the scene and some tips he receives and ends up finding Person of Interest #1, an unregistered sexual predator/pedophile who often strolls those woods. The rest of the investigators, however, zero in on Andy’s 8th grade son Jacob as the most probable perpetrator.  The courtroom drama unfolds, twisting and turning in a bunch of different ways as the books gets closer to the end. I passed it along to my dad.

NightFilm

AH this one I am almost sad to write about. I was SO THRILLED to find a galley of this in the staff room of the library. Marisha Pessl had a big hit years ago, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, which was sort of a contemporary remix of A Secret History by Donna Tartt. I really liked it – some people didn’t. This new one is touted as “the best literary thriller of the summer” and the beginning part was great – spooky, suspenseful, intriguing. But then. That’s how these reviews always go, I feel. But then. It gets pretty terrible. Hardly ever before have I read something and thought “oh, that was obviously what the author had to do to make this make sense” and I thought that about ten different times during this book. Oh, obviously she has to make the young aspiring and endearing actress happen to have a connection to this person who proves vital in solving “the mystery.” Ugh. By the end of it I didn’t even care. So, here’s the story: Scott, a disgraced journalist, investigates the apparent suicide of famous/infamous filmmaker Stanislas Cordova’s daughter. Scott was ousted from his job and his professional reputation years ago when he publicly slandered Cordova and was hit with a career ending lawsuit. His investigative team includes above mentioned aspiring/endearing actress and also drunk/moody ex-boyfriend of the dead girl. They are led on a twisty ride through the dark/horrific life of the Cordovas (reflected in Cordova’s cultish banned horror films). Maybe 2/5 stars? the beginning was so good.

Constellation of Vital Phenomena

This one was much better. Critics are saying it is similar to Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated which is pretty accurate. It’s set in Chechnya after the two wars. The easiest way to describe it is this: It’s a novel about eight people, separately trying to pick up the pieces of a war-ravaged life, grieving their many losses, who realize that their lives are more intertwined than you’d think. I think I gave it a 3/5 star rating mostly because I felt like some of the ways in which the people were connected were a little too…I don’t know. Too much of a stretch? But in most every other way it was very good.