13 May 2019

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: 3 Books for a Rainy Afternoon

3 books to read nowHope everyone had a lovely weekend. I was blessed to be able to spend four days in Ohio with my mom for Mother's Day. Mr. BFR got her yard and patio ready for summer, and I helped with the indoor jobs. We also managed to find time to eat and cook, and laugh and drink.

As a consequence, though, I didn’t have much time to read for pleasure. First, because I needed to work ahead so I could take Friday off work. Second because, of course, I’d rather spend time with my mom than be by myself reading.

This coming week will be tight too because I’ll be scrambling to make up for today, which I’m also taking off. Argh! The never-ending pressures of the self-employed. Oh well. I’m currently listening to a good thriller and am reading both a contemporary novel and a science fiction story. My goal is to finish all three by this time next week. Wish me luck.

Review of Death of a Maid by M. C. BeatonDeath of a Maid by M. C. Beaton (Mysterious Press, 2007): In this 22nd installment of the Hamish Macbeth series, our favorite village constable is on the verge of change. No, Hamish is not facing a promotion away from his beloved town of Lochdubh, but he's beginning to see he must take definitive action in terms of his love life (or rather his lack of one). Meanwhile, he has a few local murders on his hands: what, if anything, do a village maid, a documentary filmmaker, and a hapless husband have in common? And why is someone trying to kill him? Death of a Maid has all the elements I love about this cozy mystery series, which is set in the Scottish Highlands: tricky to solve murders, quirky characters, humor, and familiar tropes. As I said, I feel that Beaton is setting her readers up for some kind of change, but exactly what that change might be won’t be revealed until the next book. My only complaint about Death of a Maid is the ending, which seemed to drag on, carrying us almost a year beyond the resolution of the murders. Still, I love Hamish and am always happy to spend a Saturday afternoon with the constable and his pets. The audiobook (Blackstone; 5 hr 34 min) was read by Graeme Malcolm, who remains a pleasure to listen to, thanks to his nice Highland accent, good delivery of the humor, and consistent characterizations. (personal collection)

Review of Dear Scarlet by Teresa WongDear Scarlet by Teresa Wong (Arsenal Pulp Press, May 7). I wrote about this graphic memoir last Friday, and I don’t have a lot more to say here. I applaud Wong and other women like her (see my review of Lucy Knisley’s Kid Gloves) who are taking postpartum depression off the taboo list. Wong’s memoir is written as a letter to her first child, and through spare but expressive black-and-white drawings, she talks about feeling inadequate, bored, and distant after a medically traumatic and long delivery followed by her inability to breastfeed. Nothing seemed to diminish the dark cloud hanging over Wong: not her mother’s Chinese remedies, talking to a therapist, drugs, or even her young upbeat nanny. Wong’s experience is hardly unusual, though each woman has unique symptoms and feelings. Despite what you might think from the main theme of Dear Scarlet, the graphic memoir is encouraging, showing other new mothers they’re not alone and that a bright future can be found. (review copy provided by the publisher)

Review of Anthony Bourdain Remembered by CNNAnthony Bourdain Remembered by CNN (Ecco, May 28). I wrote about this tribute to Bourdain, a chef and travel writer, last Friday. This book is not a biography; instead it’s a collection of photographs, memories, and thoughts about Bourdain, who died last spring. Most of the photographs are from his CNN series Parts Unknown, which was part food show, part anthropology, and part travel. Some of the photos in the book looks like stills from the television series, but others give us a behind-the-scenes look at Bourdain. A few photos are from his youth. Each page is filled with tributes: some are from the foodie famous (like Jamie Oliver), some are from the famous famous (like Barack Obama), but most are from fans who wrote about how Bourdain affected their lives. This is a heartbreaking book; death by suicide always brings up such conflicting emotions. Yet the outpouring of love and support from the public for Bourdain is incredibly moving. If you’re a die-hard Bourdain fan, you’ll want a copy for your collection. For many of us, though, this a great book to check out of the library. (review copy provided by the publisher)

Movie bonus: Can't wait until Where'd You Go, Bernadette the movie comes out in August. I loved the book (my review here) and hope the movie is just as good. A new trailer was released last week:


rhapsodyinbooks 5/13/19, 6:36 AM  

Every time you post a review of a Beaton book, I say to myself I must start that series, and then promptly forget! I think I may go the note-on-refrigerator route!

Claire @ Book Lovers Pizza 5/13/19, 7:38 AM  

Yes, I also loved Bernadette and can’t wait for the movie!

Susie | Novel Visits 5/13/19, 8:39 AM  

Sounds like fun time with your mom. I'm doing the same thing over memorial Day weekend.

I actually DNF'd Where'd You Go Bernadette? I think I'm one of the only people who just couldn't get into it. Still, I want to see the movie. Hopefully, it will work for me in a way the book didn't.

shelleyrae @ book'd out 5/13/19, 8:58 AM  

I’m glad you get to spend time with your mother :)

I’m looking forward to see Where’d You Go Bernadette.

Have a great reading week

Laurel-Rain Snow 5/13/19, 10:32 AM  

Tempting books...and I can tell I'll love the Bernadette movie. Cate Blanchett's take seems wonderful.

Enjoy your week, and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

Kathy Martin 5/13/19, 12:13 PM  

I really need to give Beaton a try. Those stories sound good. I'm a peripheral Bourdain fan - I watched his shows if I happened to stumble onto them. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

Tina 5/13/19, 12:59 PM  

I've read most of the Agatha Raisin series by Beaton but I never had gotten her Hamish series. I like her style.

Oh, that Bourdain book is going on my list for sure.

Sounds like a lovely mother's day visit with your mom. :-)

Vicki 5/13/19, 2:51 PM  

I loved Where'd You Go, Bernadette and can't wait to see the movie! I think I might get a copy of the Bourdain book.

Greg 5/13/19, 4:23 PM  

Good luck with the reading! And glad you had a nice Mother's day with family.

the M.C. Beaton books look fun, too, with the Scottish setting. I've thought about trying those a few times...

Where'd You Go, Bernadette looks great. I think Cate Blanchett will be awesome in that role. :)

pussreboots 5/13/19, 7:41 PM  

I'm putting Dear Scarlet on my wishlist. My weekly update

Yvonne 5/13/19, 8:51 PM  

I love MC Beaton's Agatha Raisin series. I'll have to try the Hamish books. They look good too.

Nise' 5/13/19, 9:35 PM  

Glad you had a nice visit with your mom. Looking forward to the movie too!

(Diane) bookchickdi 5/19/19, 5:09 PM  

How lovely that you got to spend time with your mom! Where'd You Go Bernadette looks like a great adaptation of the book.

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