Monday, July 26, 2010

Compulsive Reading

Need a book that you can't put down? Here are three very different compulsive reads that are hot picks this summer.

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Chelsea Cain is quoted on the back of this book suggesting that if you're a realtor that you not read this book. I agree with her one hundred percent. You see, Annie Sullivan was having an open house when she was abducted and no one, besides her extremely disturbed abductor, knew where she was for over a year. She became the woman on the posters – Missing.

I really liked the way this tale was told. Each chapter is another session with Annie's therapist and is a transcript of what she said during each session. Sometimes she talks only of the period of time while she was abducted, sometimes only of the present, sometimes a mix of many different periods of her life. However, it is never confusing. Throughout it all we get a clear picture of the workings of Annie's damaged mind and how she is attempting to put herself back together and find herself again.

This is a great psychological thriller that keeps you guessing. It's a dark and claustrophobic read, but if you can survive the details of the nightmare Annie lived through, you can see a woman begin to heal and puzzle out what happened to her (and could have happened to her) and most importantly – why...?

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

Need a beach read with a little substance to it? This is the story of four women who are in a state of crisis. Two just aren't aware that they are in a state of crisis and two are EXTREMELY aware and running away from life. There are two sisters, and the two daughters of one of the sisters, all spending a month on an island to get away from it all. Of course this isolated beach house isn't as isolated from life as they would like and the problems of their lives intrude on their peace and quiet.

This book screams summer. The scenery is all beach and beach towns. Boats, sand, sun – everything you want to read about while on vacation enjoying the scenery yourself!

This book was completely engrossing. I found myself reading into the wee hours of the morning needing to see what would happen next. Not something I expected from a story about four wealthy women living on a private island off Nantucket with no electricity. I was pleasantly surprised and hope you will be too.

61 Hours by Lee Child

Sub-zero temperatures never felt so good. In Lee Child's latest Jack Reacher thriller Reacher finds himself embroiled in the problems of a prison town in South Dakota during a blizzard. You feel deep down bone cold while reading this book. And considering the temperatures we've been having, I welcomed the feeling.

For those new to Jack Reacher, you're in for a treat. This is a no-nonsense get-it-done sort of guy that rights wrongs wherever he finds them. I like to compare him to "The Man with No Name." The author does a great job making this an atmospheric story with foreboding feel throughout. Every so often the countdown from 61 hours is told, and you don't even know what the countdown is until you're over halfway through the story! For those that have been following Reacher's story for the past thirteen books (this is number fourteen) you'll learn a bunch about Reacher's past and fill in some of the blanks regarding his childhood and time with the Military Police.

As with all of the Jack Reacher books you are on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. It's a great action-oriented breakneck ride. (I listened to it and found myself huddled by my CD player, shivering in my air conditioning, waiting for the next event!)

WARNING: This book ends with a whopper of a cliffhanger. The sequel Worth Dying For comes out on October 19th.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Art of the Steal; the Artistry of the Return

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman, Founder, FBI Art Crime Team

Bob Wittman spent a good chunk of his time at the FBI retrieving stolen treasures. He helped recover golden Peruvian armor; hundreds of war relics, including swords and flags; Native American ceremonial objects and priceless works of art by Degas, Rembrandt, and Rockwell. While it is interesting to see how Wittman recovers these treasures (lots of undercover work and research), I found myself intrigued by the thieves. These are not the daring men of Hollywood that are in love with the objects they steal, these are guys out to make a buck. Some are smart, most are not, and all are quite shady. Each chapter outlines a different retrieval, or a pivotal event in the author’s life, which makes for a very quick read. The final case Wittman outlines is the most famous: the theft of ten priceless pieces of art from the Gardner Museum in Boston. Bureaucracy, confusion and serendipity intertwine as multiple agencies from multiple countries attempt to retrieve these lost masterpieces.

Does this book sound like one you’d want to read? Love a good mystery? Always looking for a new book because you’ve read EVERYTHING by your favorite author? Or do you just really enjoy reading mysteries? Come and join our Mysterious Morning discussions!

A list of suggested authors and titles are available at the Bridgewater Library and books will be on display about a month prior to the discussion. (If you’re a voracious mystery reader you can read more than one.)

If it’s a mystery or true crime book and it features a main character somehow involved with art or archaeology, or the theft/recovery of a piece of art, then it fits this month’s sub-genre. It’ll be interesting to compare the fiction and non-fiction when we meet in September!

September's Mystery Type: The Art of Mystery

Wednesday, September 1st

9:30am - 11:30am
Bridgewater Library, Meeting Room A

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Want a Read to Make You Think?

Looking for a book that will make you think long after you close the covers? Try one of these to get the grey matter working.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

I finished this book right before I went to sleep and I woke up thinking about it the next morning. Wow. The book jacket appeals to those that have read this book NOT to share what it is about, so I will not do so. I will tell you that this is the story of two women from very different worlds whose lives are intertwined in complex ways. This book is optimistic with an undercurrent of pessimism. It is thoughtful, yet rife with hasty decisions. It is heartwarming and horrific. It is a book that needs to be experienced to be appreciated.

The Popular Fiction Book Discussion Group will be meeting at Borders of Bridgewater on Tuesday, September 21st at 7:00pm to discuss Little Bee.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

This is a coming of age story set in Seattle during the internment of the Japanese in World War II. It is the story of a Chinese boy who befriends a Japanese girl and the blossoming of their relationship and the turmoil that surrounds them because of the war. The author brings you into the streets of Seattle, the temporary housing for the Japanese at the state fairgrounds and the newly constructed internment camp in Idaho. This is a heartwarming story about a period of our history that is rarely brought to light.

Caught by Harlan Coben

On the surface this is a story of a suspected sex offender getting caught by a reporter in the act of meeting an underage girl. Dig a little deeper and it is a rumination on the effect of accusations (founded or not) on the lives of the accused. It's a story that looks at how a rumor of infidelity, corruption or crime can taint a person's reputation; even if no proof is ever found. The multiple plot lines weave together seamlessly in this reflective and fast-paced read.

The Lady Behind the Famous Name

Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

I will freely admit my ignorance. I had no idea that Lady Jane Grey was the Queen of England for a brief nine days. I had heard of her, and knew that she was a young lady when she was executed, but I didn't know the story – the intrigue that she wanted no part of that cost her her life. The story unfolds in short chapters, each narrated by a different historical figure from the time of Jane's birth, until her death at age sixteen. This is a great selection on audiobook because multiple narrators bring the various historical figures to life. As an added bonus, the multiple narrators help the listener keep all the individuals straight. Throughout the story you find yourself hoping that history will be rewritten, that this young girl, with innocent dreams for her future, will be allowed to live her life. Alas, as the tone of the novel turns from hopeful to menacing, we know what will happen and hope that it won't.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mysteries Are My Hobby

The Mysterious Mornings group met this morning and talked about their favorite hobby mysteries. If it was mystery and it featured a main character that spent a lot of time enjoying their favorite hobby (while solving a mystery of course) than it fit the bill. Here are the group favorites and their most recent books in each hobby series:

Joanna Campell-Slan - Sewing - Sew Deadly
Anne Canadeo - Knitting - Knit, Purl, Die
Laura Childs - Scrapbooking - Death Swatch
Anthony Eglin - Gardening - The Trail of the Wild Rose
Monica Ferris - Needlework - Blackwork
Betty Hechtman - Crocheting - A Stitch in Crime
Mary Ellen Hughes - Crafting - Paper-Thin Alibi
Rett MacPherson - Geneaology - The Blood Ballad

If you'd like a list of everything by the author in order, just click

Interesting in joining in on a Mysterious Morning discussion? A list of suggested authors and titles are available at the Bridgewater Library and books will be on display about a month prior to the discussion. (If you’re a voracious mystery reader you can read more than one.) Our next theme/subgenre is The Art of Mystery.

If it’s a mystery or true crime book and it features a main character somehow involved with art or archaeology, or the theft/recovery of a piece of art, then it fits this month’s sub-genre. It’ll be interesting to compare the fiction and non-fiction when we meet Wednesday, September 1st at 9:30am at the Bridgewater Library.