Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An American Wife - and - Triptych

An American Wife

Curtis Sittenfeld


This was the book I chose to be the ‘book I wouldn’t normally read’ this summer. I tend to do at least one, because I usually just read airport novels (those which while away the time without taxing your brain too much). And, I enjoyed reading it.

It really is three (fictional) installments of the life of an American President’s wife. It is supposed to be something of a tribute to Laura Bush and all the time I was reading it I couldn’t get my mind off ‘Charlie’ being ‘Dubbya’.

The first part tells of Alice’s early life in Wisconsin, which is known for it’s farms and farming. Her father is a small town bank manager and her mother is a tied to the kitchen sink (willingly) housewife. Her grandmother however, is something of a character. Alice has a normal life goes to college and all that stuff. The second part of the book relates to her meeting Charlie, of their courtship, their early marriage and almost divorce. Finally, aspects of both these parts of Alice’s life come back to haunt them both at a critical time in Charlie’s Presidentship. It is a good read and there are some charming reminders of everyday married life and love.


Karin Slaughter

Of all the books I’ve read this summer, I think that this is the one I enjoyed the most. This excludes An American Wife, which was a different kind of book. Triptych is one of the read-it: bin-it books you take on holiday (like Connelly, Grisham etc.) It’s possibly part of a series and hopefully – the first one. But it rattled on and surprised me from time to time. Set in Atlanta it goes on the tell of murder and mayhem in a way that I found interesting.

Involves rape and children so maybe not to everyone's taste - but the baddy gets it in the end. Which is as it should be.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Most Wanted Man

A Most Wanted Man

John leCarré

It’s been a while since I’ve read leCarré, I Tinker Tailor’ed him and a couple of others about the same time but couldn’t get into any of his in-between books. A Most Wanted Man was easy to read, had no real ‘iron curtain’ material in it – although the main characters speak Russian – and it rattled on at a pace.

The book shyly refers to ‘the war on terror’ almost shamefacedly but revolves around a Chechen Muslim who has come into some money via his newly deceased father, a former Soviet General; guilty of criminal acts and murder across the Soviet empire – the son being the result of Chechen rape. All sorts of international organizations become involved and pressures are put to bear on two other principle characters – a lawyer and a banker.

A rattling read, something to while away the long-haul hours or under a sun umbrella.

The Appeal

The Appeal

John Grisham

[I'm on holiday right now, so these might come thick and fast)

What can I say? The last book I read of Grisham’s didn’t impress, so this could only get better. And it did, marginally. It took me about half the book to realise that this wasn’t about any appeal, but about the characters, politics, big business and sly wheeler dealings that go on in life. It is a slow meander through a legal life where the underdog continues to get bitten.

Not the best Grisham I’ve read. I won’t read it again.