10 November 2014

Ten Short Takes: Catching Up with Book Reviews

Here are ten books I read or listened to in 2014 I never got around to reviewing on Beth Fish Reads (though reviews and blurbs may have appeared elsewhere). This post catches me up on books I don't plan on reviewing individually in this space.

Humming a Tune

Wonderland by D'Erasmo, There Goes Gravity by Robinson, Last Night at the Blue Angel by RotertWonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo is an introspective novel about Anna, a middle-aged indie rock star who goes on tour in hopes of staging a comeback. Although the audiobook (read by Xe Sands) was well done, the novel suffered from lack of cohesiveness. (Houghton Mifflin, 9780544074811). Rock-and-roll journalist Lisa Robinson has seen it all and met them all. Her memoir There Goes Gravity, is a gossipy, witty, sometimes nostalgic insider's look at the popular music scene both on the road and at home. A must-read for music fans. (Riverhead Hardcover, 9781594487149) Rebecca Rotert's Last Night at the Blue Angel is set in the 1960s and tells the story of a blues singer as she and her daughter face an uncertain future while preparing for her last gig at a rundown Chicago club. An enthralling character study and social commentary. (William Morrow, 9780062315281)

Graphic Duo

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan; Sweet Tooth by Jeff LemireBrian K. Vaughan's Saga series continues to surprise me. I never thought I'd be so caught up in a comic series that had science fiction roots. Love, war, family, and fascinating beings and worlds give this ongoing series universal appeal. A little humor lightens the mood. The beautiful illustrations are by Fiona Staples. (Image Comics) Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth series is one of my favorite comics. In a dystopian world, children who have been born with animal parts are hunted out and destroyed in the name of scientific study. Your heart will go out to our hero, the young Sweet Tooth, a fantastically complex character. This series has ended, so you can now read the entire story arc in collected volumes or in individual issues. (Vertigo)

Elements of Mystery

The Cuckoo's Calling by Galbraith; To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Ferris, The Splendour Falls by KearsleyEveryone knows by now that Robert Galbraith is really J. K. Rowling. In The Cuckoo's Calling, the first in her Cormoran Strike series, she proves her diversity as a storyteller. Strike, a London private detective, is asked to investigate an already closed high-profile suicide case because a client insists it was actually murder. Great plotting and characters. (Mulholland Books, 9780316330169) Joshua Ferris's To Rise Again at a Decent Hour is not a mystery per se, but it involves elements of identity theft and a fringe religious cult. If I hadn't been listening to it for a freelance assignment, I wouldn't have finished this disjointed story of a dentist's journey to self-discovery. Others have loved the novel. (Little, Brown, 9780316033978) Susanna Kearsley's The Splendour Falls is a little bit mystery and a little bit romance. Enjoyable escape reading, the book is set in modern-day France but involves both World War II and a 13th-century queen. (Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781402258619)

Foodie Finds

Meet Paris Oyster by Guiliano; Edible by MartinMeet Paris Oyster is Mireille Guiliano's love story to her favorite bivalve. A charming and informative look at all things oysters, including species, how to order them, how to eat them, and what to drink with them. Although she generally likes her oysters raw, the book includes a handful of classic and simple recipes. A fun resource. (Grand Central Life & Style, 9781455524082) Daniella Martin has the answer to humankind's future food supply: eat insects. In Edible, she makes a strong case for the importance of insects in the human diet throughout evolution and argues that eating insects is key to providing low-fat, high-quality protein to large numbers of people with minimal environmental cost. She may be right. (New Harvest, 9780544114357)


bermudaonion 11/10/14, 9:27 AM  

I've struggled with two of Ferris's novels so may not even give To Rise Again at a Decent Hour a shot.

Megan 11/10/14, 10:37 AM  

Last Night at the Blue Angel has been one of my favorites of the year. It definitely needs some attention when I catch up on *my* reviews... someday. ;-)

MG 11/10/14, 11:14 AM  

Only one of these I've read is the Ferris, which I didn't like. Last night at the blue Angel Is on my radar, it's nice to here positive comments on it. The one on your post that really caught my eye is The Oyster. I love this kind of food book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

(Diane) bookchickdi 11/10/14, 1:43 PM  

I love this format! I have so many books that I have read but not reviewed, I may adapt your clever idea.

Daryl 11/10/14, 2:27 PM  

i have been stubbornly avoiding Rowling's alter personna but now i think i will give in and try it …thanks!

Sue Jackson 11/10/14, 5:58 PM  

What a great idea! I am 9 reviews behind now :/ Maybe I will try this approach, too - and I like how you grouped certain books together.

I haven't read any of these - sounds like some good ones!


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Nise' 11/10/14, 9:14 PM  

I picked up To Rise Again, put it down and have not picked it up again. Loved The Splendour Falls.

Becca Lostinbooks 11/13/14, 9:00 PM  

Last Night at the Blue Angel is on my shelf but I haven't read it yet. Good to know it is enthralling!

Louise 11/15/14, 9:19 PM  

I saw the cover of the Paris Oyster book this week, and wondered if it could really be just about oysters- I guess it is!

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