Grand Summer for Reading

Some summers I am very disappointed in my “free reads”, those books I read without intending them for book discussions. This year almost everything I’ve read has been great.

Two of the books I listened were audiobooks which is good because I would probably have “cheated” and looked at the ending if they were print books.

The Book of Murder by Guillermo Martinez is told essentially from 3 people’s points of view. A secretary to two authors becomes certain that the deaths of her fiance, parents and brother have be caused somehow by a famous author who blames her for his daughter’s death. But how could he have killed these people so that it looks accidental? The 2nd author is asked to investigate. Throughout the whole book one is not sure whether the deaths were murder or coincidence.

The 13th Tale by Diane Setterfield is our afternoon book discussion book for September. While it started slowly, it soon becomes riveting as we hear the “story” of a pair of twins, their seriously dysfunctional family and a mysterious fire. But, is the story the truth or is it just the old woman’s fictional memories? The book pays homage to Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights with noises in the night and ghosts and governesses.

Three that I’d read are Run by Ann Patchett (of Bel Canto fame), The Girl who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson and That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo. Russo is one of my favorite writers and this fairly short book provides the wonderful ironic yet sweet look at family dynamics that he is so good at. Patchett’s book will be our December evening discussion book. Her story takes place in Cambridge, MA, and focuses on an unfortunate car accident that brings together two families who share a past.

Steig Larsson authored three books before his death. They follow the story of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist through their meeting in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, their separation in Played with Fire and who knows what in the 3rd book to be published. The characters are fascinating — especially Lisbeth, who is a hacker extraordinaire! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I read the first two books.