It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Reading

Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. This covers the last two weeks since I’ve been slacking.

Just Wanna Testify
by Pearl Cleague-  I didn’t read the book jacket for this one. I just like the author. She writes a series of books that take place in a neighborhood in Atlanta. This neighborhood is under the control of a man named named Blue Hamilton. It is a benevolent dictatorship. He insists on people taking taking responsibility for themselves and keeping the neighborhood safe. These books are idealized versions of reality but straight fiction-  no fantasy.

So imagine my surprise when they started talking about vampires. I was so confused that the first few times I read the word “vampire” I was convinced she was using it as a metaphor. Nope, she meant vampire. Suddenly certain characters are revealed to be reincarnated telepaths. It was odd.  It is all explained at the end but I had a WTF? feeling the whole way through that was quite disconcerting.  Not one of her best. 

Call Me Irresistible
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips-  Meg is the daughter of Hollywood royalty. She is going to be the Maid of Honor at her friend Lucy’s wedding. Lucy is the daughter of the first female President of the U.S. She goes to Texas for the wedding and realizes immediately that this is a horrible match. Lucy knows it too.  The problem is that everyone in this small town idolizes her fiance Ted. They think she isn’t good enough for him. When Lucy bolts during the ceremony the town blames Meg who is left behind.

Ted seems perfect except when he is around Meg. Then the mask slips and she sees the anger in him. He keeps her in town and works to demean her in the eyes of the whole town. That isn’t hard since they all blame her for breaking poor Ted’s heart by convincing Lucy to run away.

This book was weird. There are many different subplots going on. Of course Ted and Meg have to get together at the end but that is uncomfortable because their initial relationship borders on emotionally abusive.

The Dawn Country
by Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear-  This is a followup to their People of the Longhouse. A female trader is buying children following destruction of warring villages. She rents them out to men to use as they like. Warriors from four warring areas join forces on the trail of their missing children. At the same time the children, ages 7 to 12, are trying to escape. This story takes place in the 1400s during the constant warfare just before the founding of the League of the Iroquois.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
by Amy Chua-  This is the story of a woman raising her two children in the strict Chinese way in the United States. They are required to play an instrument and practice for hours a day. They have to be first in their class in everything. The method works well for her older daughter who is playing professional piano by 16. But her younger daughter fights playing the violin even as she is excelling at it. The battles escalate until she is 13 when the author has to decide if relaxing the pressure on her means that she has given into American lazy parenting ways.

I like this book. If I had full time kids I’d be pretty mean and demanding. I wouldn’t go to this level purely because I’m too lazy for the commitment required but I admire it. I think childhood is a time to be trained to be a good adult, not just a time to run around and do whatever you want which usually means sitting around saying you’re bored.

The Rule of Four
by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason-  audio- I read this because coworkers recommended it. That usually implies books big on plot and fantasy. This is painfully slow on plot. That might not be so bad if I was reading it but on audio I keep yelling, “Is there a point?!?!” 

In 1999 a student named Paul at Princeton is finishing his thesis on a 14th century book that seems to make no sense. It is the story of a dream that rambles on in several languages and about several subjects.  Soon after publication it was found that the first letter of every chapter spelled out a message from the author. It is assumed that there are more coded messages but no one has figured them out. Paul and Tom, the son of a man who devoted his life to studying the book, have cracked the codes with the help of some long missing primary sources. Now the person who gave them the missing book is murdered and they may be danger too.

That sounds action packed but no. Flashbacks to Tom’s father’s career and his friends who are mentoring Paul. Long discourses on obscure Italian scientific knowledge. Discussions about Tom’s relationship with his girlfriend who I think is horrible but who is supposed to be the stabilizing force in his life.  I kept hoping that she’d turn out to be the Big Bad so he could get rid of her. I just wanted there to be a point.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe
by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon-  This is the story of a family of nine sisters who had to survive when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. Kamila was a teacher but when her father and oldest brother were forced to flee she realized that she would have to find a way to make money. She started a dressmaking business that eventually employed all her sisters and many neighborhood women. She then opened a school to teach sewing. She then translated this experience into working in international development after the fall of the Taliban. 

Casting About
by Terri DuLong-  Monica and Adam are newleyweds when they find out that Adam is getting custody of his eight year old daughter. Monica doesn’t think that she is mothering material. This book was pretty predictable. They all learn to like each other.

Where am I reading update – Georgia, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Connecticut, Afghanistan, Florida