The Black Tower

November 17, 2008

Author: Louis Bayard
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Twelve

Started: 11/17/08
Completed: 11/23/08

This is a literary, historical, mystery novel set in Paris of the early 1800’s. Bayard wrote Mr. Timothy, another historical mystery and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. So this seemed worth a try.

It centers on Eugène François Vidocq, a figure from French history who had served time in prison but later become the first modern detective. According to Wikipedia, he inspired both Jean Valjean and Javert, the police inspector who pursued Valjean in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

Supreme Courtship

November 13, 2008

Author: Christopher Buckley
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Twelve

Started: 11/13/08
Completed: 11/16/08

I grabbed this book from the library shelf at least in part because Mr. Buckley appeared on The Daily Show recently to talk about it. He was charming and it sounded like a fun book. It is about an appointment to the Supreme Court of an unexpected judge, a woman that doesn’t quite fit the expected form. It was written well before Mrs. Palin was selected to run for Vice President, but appears to match that odd story line in many ways.

The Whiskey Rebels

November 3, 2008

Author: David Liss
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Random House

Started: 11/3/08
Completed: 11/12/08

This is a historical novel set in the early United State; immediately post-Revolution. It has two main story lines that intersect and connect. It is told in two first person voices, and telescopes through time in places.

The plot, involving financial plots, is complex and can be confusing, but there is action and good descriptive writing. This is an enjoyable book about a period of US history that we don’t read about as often.

His Majesty’s Dragon

October 30, 2008

Author: Naomi Novik
Copyright: 2006
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Started: 10/30/08
Completed: 11/3/08

This is the first in the Tremeraire Series that my brother Matt pointed me toward. I started the series by reading the third in the series; I found that at the bookstore before finding this one at the library.

This is a great book. Probably better than the third, to be honest. But in any case, I’m on the lookout for the second book.

The Little Book

October 6, 2008

Author: Seldon Edwards
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Dutton

Started: 10/6/08
Completed: 10/12/08

This is a time-travel book that the author worked on over some 30 years. I enjoy time-travel books both for the feeling of “being there” and for the twisted plot logic that they can bring. This is a very engaging novel. It is one of those that you hate to finish, because it has been such fun to be in this world.

Missy

October 2, 2008

Author: Chris Hannan
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Started: 10/1/08
Completed: 10/6/08

This is a modern novel about the American West. It deals with the role of women, and with drug abuse. It is a dark novel, but an interesting read.

On Stranger Tides

July 17, 2008

Author: Tim Powers
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Subterranean Press

Started: 7/17/08
Completed: 7/25/08

When I pulled this off the library shelf, all I saw was what looked like a goofy pirate tale with some supernatural overtones. It suggested escapism.It turned out to be a bit deeper than that; not a bad story at all. It provides a portrait of piracy in the Caribbean at the time of Blackbeard. There is a strong sorcery tie-in and plenty of action. Escapism, but fairly intelligent.

Author: Victor Gischler
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Touchstone

Started: 7/14/08
Completed: 7/17/08

It has a title that kind of catches your eye. The author is described as “part Christopher Moore [who I like], part Quentin Trantino” and “a raving, badass genius.”

It seemed worth a look and it was. The book is set in the near-future. The main character has sat-out the first nine-years of the dissolution of America into anarchy. He comes down from his mountain hide-out and has to learn to make his way in a chaotic remnant of a nation. Action, blood, gore, sick dark humor, and fun.

Away

June 30, 2008

Author: Amy Bloom
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Random House

Started: 6/30/08
Completed: 7/3/2008

This is an immigrant’s story set in 1920’s New York City at its start. A young Russian woman, Jewish, survives a pogrom that kills her whole family. She ends up in New York,rebuilding her life before learning that her child may have survived. She heads out across the US to try to get to Alaska and across to Siberia. An interesting, well-written book.

Harry, Revised

June 17, 2008

Author: Mark Sarvas
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Started: 6/17/08
Completed: 6/22/08

I didn’t know much about this one as I started it, but I did know that the author is a blogger. It advertises itself as “moving and darkly comedic” and I think meets that test. Not a bad little book.