Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Brief Roundup

I have actually been reading. Just not blogging. So here goes a (very) brief round up of the past few books.

1) The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

This one is by a favorite author of mine, who writes historical fiction, mostly about the Tudor family. This is her first book in a new series about the Plantagenets, the family that preceded the Tudors on England's throne. It's also about the Wars of the Roses, the decades-long war that took place in England in the late 1400s. The White Queen is Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner who marries a king and has two sons that are kidnapped by their dastardly uncle and locked in the Tower of London where they meet their fate of...nobody knows. The mystery of the two missing princes in the Tower of London is England's version of the Anastasia story; no remains of either boy were ever found. This story is mostly about Elizabeth however. Most of Gregory's books are character-driven; they focus on the women of the ruling class in pre-Renaissance England. Overall, better than some of hers I've read but still no The Other Boleyn Girl (a favorite by the same author).

2) In The Woods by Tana French - Jim reviewed this one earlier this year so I'll keep it short. Great book, but I was disappointed not to find out what happened to the two children that went missing from the wood in 1984. I know thats not meant to be the point of the story, but it felt like the point to me. Come on. Two children disappear and the third is found clutching a tree, shoes filled with blood and no memory? I want to know what happened there. The book revolves around a modern-day child murder, which is solved, but the fact tha multiple allusions are made to the earlier case makes it all that much more disappointing not to have an answer. Also, the answers the reader is meant to supply, given the information available to us in the book are that the children disappeared as a result of some large animal with huge eyes that spotted them in the woods one day and came back for them later.

3) The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009 - This is a collection of short stories I've bought every year its been in print - since 2002. Its a terrific little anthology full of short stories, articles, and graphic narratives edited by Dave Eggers and, of late, a group of high school students that participate in a writing work shop in San Francisco. Topics range from a short story about a grandpa to an article about the Jena 6 race riots to a French comic strip and the Best American Craigslist Items and Offers to Barter. Go buy this book, it's terrific. And because it is short stories, you can leave it and come back later as often or as little as you like. Say, like in between a murder mystery and historical fiction.

That's pretty much all I got right now. I think all my posts will be formatted like this from now on.

1 comment:

Jim said...

I liked that they never wrapped it up at the end. I mean, can you think of a way you could solve that seemingly preternatural murder while still keeping the book feeling as if its set in a realistic world? I dunno.