Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Salon: This Afternoon, I Will Be Reading; The Dusting Can Wait

Good afternoon, fellow book lovers! After a few days of refreshing rain, the sky is completely clear and the sun is promising that spring is on her way. I almost wish the clouds would roll in and darken the sky--rainy days make perfect reading days, after all. And that's exactly how I want to spend the rest of my day!

I may not be in a mood for an Irish setting, but I have found a home in Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson world. There's nothing like turning to a comfort read at a time when life feels a bit overwhelming. Today is the perfect day for it. The realtor isn't available to take us out looking at houses, most of the baby preparations are complete and my body is telling me to take it easy (but, oh, how I need to clean and straighten the house! Not that I'm supposed to be doing that anyway per doctor's orders--but you know how it is.). Might as well take advantage of a little reading time now. It's back to work tomorrow . . .

What have you been reading lately?

This Week In Reading Mews:

Reading Now:
Blood Bound
by Patricia Briggs
The Matchmaker of Kenmare
by Frank Delaney
Christine Falls by Benjamin Black

Books Purchased:
The only book purchased this past week was a baby's memory book.

Reviews Posted:
From Book to Film:
Tigerheart by Peter David
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

Posts of Interest This Week:
The Post in Which I Breakdown
Tuesday Tangents on Wednesday: The Like & Dislike Edition

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

At one end of my desk sits a nearly four-hundred-year-old book cloaked in a tan linen sack and a good deal of mystery. My friend Malcolm came across the book while carrying out the sad task of sorting through his brother's belongings after he committed suicide. On the sack was a handwritten note that began, "To whom it may concern," and went on to explain that several years earlier, a friend had withdrawn the book from a college library where she worked and had accidentally taken it with her when she moved away. He wrote that she wanted the book to be returned to the library anonymously, but that he hadn't had time to do so. Gingerly Malcolm lifted the large, heavy tome with gleaming brass clasps from its sack. "Isn't it beautiful?" he said as he handed it to me. My first thought was: Yes, beautiful. My second: It's stolen. [excerpt from opening paragraph]

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession
by Allison Hoover Bartlett
Riverhead Books, 2009
Nonfiction; 274 pgs

Allison Hoover Bartlett, a book lover in her own right, came across a 400 year old book whose province was a bit of a mystery. Her curiosity was immediately piqued and she began to investigate where the book came from. Her interest in the rare book took her to an unexpected place, and she was soon caught up in a story about a book thief and the man who was determined to catch him. From the moment I first heard about this book, I knew I had to read it.

John Charles Gilkey not only loves books, but he longs for a collection of his own, one that he believes will inspire respect. Despite his not having the means to afford such a collection, he goes about finding a way to build his own collection anyway. He steals from rare book dealers and sellers through any means necessary, including by fraud and credit card theft.

Ken Sanders, a book dealer and collector, takes on the task of organizing a way to track stolen books among others in the rare book trade, and it is through him that a pattern emerges and Gilkey finally is caught. The author spends time with both Sanders and Gilkey in an effort to learn more about the rare book trade and the motivations behind book collecting at the height of its passion.

The author writes: "As collectors have often remarked, collecting is like hunger, and having one more books doesn't quench the longing for another." Ah, how well I know that feeling! My own book collection wouldn't merit a glance by the collectors and dealers mentioned in Bartlett's novel. My interest in books is purely for the story rather than it's worth, value and rarity. Still, I have known that hunger all too well upon visiting a bookstore or book fair. Hence why my TBR collection has gotten so far out of control.

I found it most interesting to get a glimpse of Gilkey's reasoning and rationalization for committing the crimes he did. It was scary in some ways: his lack of regard for those he stole from and his feeling of entitlement. As charming as Gilkey seemed to be, I found him rather arrogant and unlikeable. Perhaps my recent experience with thievery plays a part in that? Though I'm not so sure I would feel any differently otherwise.

My heart did go out to the victims of his crimes, and I can imagine how frustrated they must be that book theft isn't taken more seriously. One particular scene in the novel that had me holding my breath was when Gilkey and the author visited one of the rare bookstores Gilkey had stolen from. The tension coming from the pages was palatable.

Allison Hoover Barlett presents her research in a very approachable way. Whether you are a true crime aficionado or a book lover, this is a must read book. Amidst Gilkey and Sanders story is a bit of history about other book thieves and collectors as well as tidbits about the rare book trade. It is a fascinating world.

You can learn more about Allison Hoover Bartlett and her book on the author's website.

Source: This book was a Christmas gift from my husband.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday Tangents on Wednesday: The Like & Dislike Edition

Tuesday Tangents is hosted by Florinda of The 3 R's Blog

Dislike ~ People who do not return phone calls in a timely manner, especially when they say they are going to call on a certain day (I'm talking to you Mr. City Man and Miss Lender!).

Like ~ My friends who have passed along their children's baby clothing to us--you don't know what lifesavers you are!

Dislike ~ The innocent question of when I am going out on maternity leave. A question I wouldn't mind at all if I wasn't asked the same thing five to ten times a day, often by the same people who asked the day before.

Like ~ My coworkers. I met with an employee one day last week and found the office in a panic when I got out of the meeting. No one could find me and several people were worried I might have gone into labor. They searched all over (even the restroom with the big yellow caution taped X on door). However, they did not check the area where I actually was. Nor did they call my cell phone. Lesson - Announce over the intercom where I am going whenever I leave my desk: "I'm going to the restroom (again)."

Dislike ~ The canceling of a significant doctor's appointment without notifying me or rescheduling it that same week.

Like ~ Friends with relatives in the right places. I now have that doctor's appointment all because I complained to a friend who then called her sister-in-law who, before I knew what was happening, had me scheduled for the appointment. One less thing for me to do. Whew.

Dislike ~ A certain cat and dog who are always stealing my chair.

Like ~ A certain cat and dog who are always stealing my chair--who can get mad at such lovable and sweet animals?

Dislike ~ The frustration and violence some people take out on their homes before they leave.

Like ~Finding a house we really like.

Dislike ~ Discovering that the house we like is part of a special government program for first time buyers--which we aren't.

Dislike ~ Milk that goes sour before it's time.

Like ~ Just opened ice cold milk.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Post in Which I Breakdown

I am putting off posting today's scheduled post until tomorrow. I need to get something off my chest. Writing has always been an outlet for me, one that I find therapeutic to a degree. I thought about not sharing this publicly, but I have decided to anyway.

Have you ever been scared for your life? I was yesterday. It was bad enough coming home last month and finding the front door of my home kicked open, my house invaded and my property stolen. Neither my husband nor I had been home, and the animals, who were, were unharmed. My sense of safety and security was shaken. It put me in a state of hyper-vigilance for a while, but I was finally beginning to feel somewhat normal again, at least as normal as one can after an experience like that. It's impossible to ever really feel completely safe again. But I was healing.

Yesterday I was home alone, watching 21 Jump Street via Netflix on my computer, when there was a knock at the door. I don't like to answer the door when I am not expecting someone, and so I ignored it. There were no cars outside to alert me to who it might be. The door bell rang. The knocking continued. I finally went to the door and called out, "Who is it?" The person on the other side of the door knocked and rang the door bell again. I demanded to know who it was. I was met with silence. It appeared the person had left. I moved to where I had a view of the window and saw a man approach the front door at a fair clip. Then I heard a sound no one ever wants to hear.

The man was trying to kick my door in. And it was a pretty powerful kick that cracked the door frame. When the knocking initially began, I had thought to pick up the phone and have it in hand. Call it instinct. And so when the man kicked at the door, I immediately yelled, "I'm calling 911!" He fled as I dialed the phone. I don't know if there was more than one person. I only saw the one.

All I can think about is had I opened the door when the knocking began, I might have been hurt and something might have happened to the baby. Obviously, the sound of my voice through the door wasn't enough to deter anyone from trying to enter my home. At least not until I threatened to call 911 (emergency). I have never been so scared in my life.

The 911 dispatcher kept me on the phone until I calmed down some and it appeared the bad man was not coming back. I heard the helicopter searching above. The police did finally arrive and took my statement. I provided a vague description of the man I saw through the window, wishing I'd had better insight to remember the little details. When my husband came home from work shortly after (I had texted him and told him what had happened), I couldn't stop crying.

Four weeks to the day when our house was burglarized someone again tried to break into my house. I feel as if I have "easy target" written on my forehead. To say I am angry and upset is an understatement. My husband and I are already feeling overwhelmed and then to have to go through this as well . . .

Right now I want nothing more than to get out of this house, to move far away. Unfortunately that isn't possible. Not yet anyway. At least it is on the horizon. It's some sort of hope to hold onto amidst all the fears swirling around in my head right now. It's better then wondering what type of world I'm bringing a child into. And when the next break in will be, and if next time someone will get hurt.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Tigerheart by Peter David

Young Paul Dear stared at his reflection one evening for a very long time. When his reflection began talking back to him, Paul began to think that perhaps he himself was actually The Boy of Legend. [1st paragraph]

Tigerheart by Peter David
Del Rey Books, 2008
Fantasy (YA); 304 pgs

One of the houses my family lived in while I was growing up had a living room (as opposed to the family room) that was free of furniture except for a chair and several bookcases. It served as a playroom for my brother and I. I would often set up cities and neighborhoods for my paper dolls and barbies or my brother's cars (which I loved to play with too). Other times my brother and I would build our own boats and pretend the red carpet was the raging sea. We went on adventure after adventure.

And so it was with those memories in mind that I entered the Anyplace, a world where imagination and belief in a bit of magic are more than just pretend play. When I first heard about Peter David's Tigerheart a couple of years ago, I was excited about reading it. Somehow though I never managed to get to it. Until now. I confess my enthusiasm had waned some and upon reading the synopsis on the back cover, I wasn't sure I was really interested in reading it anymore. The story itself sounded interesting, but the idea of reading a book that is sort of a spin off of another (the author refers to it as a pastiche), more famous story was off putting. Still, I figured I'd at least give it a try and see how far I could get.

I was pulled in from the very first and never looked back from there. This is one of those books that is aimed for all ages. As I read, I could see myself sharing the story with my daughter while at the same time, the novel is written in such a way that appealed to me as an adult as well.

I doubt there are many people out there who have not heard of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. His story is legendary. Peter Pan is the boy who never grew up. His adventures with Wendy and her brothers are known all over the world. I have never read Barrie's book although I have seen various versions of the story in movie form. Author Peter David's love for the story of Peter Pan began in his childhood and extended into his adulthood. He loved J.M. Barrie's story and decided to continue it in his own way, while at the same time paying homage to the original.

Although the familiar famous names are different in Tigerheart, there is no doubting which character represents the original ones. Captain Hook has become Captain Hack; Gweeny used to be Wendy; Tinkerbell is now Fiddlefix; and Peter Pan has become simply The Boy. The hero of the novel, however, and who the story really is about is Paul Dear.

Paul grew up on stories about the Anyplace and The Boy. His father encouraged him to believe while his mother would rather he grow up and forget all that nonsense. Everything in Paul's experience tells him the stories are true--for he has seen The Boy with his very own eyes. He has spent time with the pixies. When tragedy strikes his family, his world is turned upside down. His mother is severely unhappy and Paul is determined to do what he can to make her happy again. With the help of the pixie Fiddlefix, Paul flies off to the Anyplace one night, much to the chagrin of his mother.

What follows is an assortment of quests and adventures. There are pirates and sirens, a great white tiger, the Piccas, the Bully Boys, shadows, and, of course, The Boy. It a wonderfully fun story, full of humor and hijinks. The novel also has its serious side, however, centering around the themes of growing up and of loss, among other things.

In many respects I thought of Paul and The Boy as being two sides of one coin, both so much alike and yet very different. They both love adventure and are brave and imaginative. The Boy and Paul have very different philosophies about growing up. Paul knows it is inevitable and accepts it, even welcomes it. The Boy, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with growing up. He wants to hold onto the magic of childhood forever. He'd been betrayed by an adult and sees adults as the cause of all the world's ills.

The adult in me raised an eyebrow at how the novel came to an end, but the child in me was quite delighted. Still, it seemed fitting for the type of tale it was. Peter David mentioned in an interview that he wrote Tigerheart using a similar voice as the one J.M. Barrie used in his story about Peter Pan, and I'd be curious to know if he succeeded. I haven't read Peter Pan, but now wish I had. It'd be interesting to read the two books back to back. Maybe one day I will.

You can learn more about Peter David and his books on the author's website.

Source: Book provided by the publisher for review.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Salon: Guilt and the Reading Slump (Plus an update on the House)

My reading crazed January has given way to a mild February slump. I went from heavy showers to a light drizzle. In small part, I blame the book I am reading. It's taken awhile to take off. And while I've started a second book in the meantime, I keep returning to first, not yet ready to fully move on--even for only a short while. This isn't the case of not being interested in the first book. I still very much want to read it and am interested to see how events play out and what will happen to the characters. It's just that, as many of you know, I have so much going on right now in my offline life that it's making my concentration on much of anything requiring focus difficult.

I wish more than anything I was in more of a mood to slow down and settle in with a book, but, you see, when I am in high stress situations, my main coping mechanism is to go into higher gear and organize, plan, and try to get things done (add to that the nesting instinct that comes in late pregnancy). And right now, more than ever, is probably when I should be taking it easy--or at least that's what I tell myself (and my doctor). As a result, I find myself irritated that I haven't been reading more. I am not sure my frustration is necessarily a good thing. It's just one more thing I've added onto that heap of stress I'm under. You know what that means. I'm scouring my shelves (at least the books that haven't been packed yet), thinking this and that book look good, giving them a try only to have them wind up back on the shelf. Organize, plan, and try to get things done. Sometimes it works very well but other times, not so much.

While no reader wants to fall into a reading slump, there are times when our reading falls by the wayside for whatever reason--whether you stop reading all together or you just aren't able to read more than a handful or so of pages a day. Reading is like breathing for many of us. We have to read, and when we aren't reading, we go into withdrawal, feel as if something important is missing from our lives, and we become irritable and frustrated. Not to mention we feel guilty. A reader in a slump is a bad reader, we think.

The truth is that most readers go through slumps at some time or another, and we shouldn't feel guilty about it. I'm not suggesting we don't find ways to get out of the slump--we'll all feel better when we're reading again, after all--but perhaps we shouldn't be so hard on ourselves when one does hit. It really doesn't make us any less of a reader.

Does a reading slump leave you feeling guilty?

It just so happens the two books I am reading right now are set in Ireland. Perhaps subconsciously I am holding out until March to finish them--just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

This Week In Reading Mews:

Reading Now:
The Matchmaker of Kenmare by Frank Delaney
Christine Falls by Benjamin Black

Books Purchased:
Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie - I got this and the third book in the trilogy for my husband--that's my story anyway. For now.
Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
Little Princes by Conor Grennan - recommended by my fellow bloggers

For those who have been following my housing situation, you will be happy to know we received an offer from the city. Yes, finally! To get everyone up to speed, the city is buying several properties in the neighborhood as part of a public safety and transportation project. We've been given notice that sometime in April the city will condemn the properties involved and declare eminent domain. Imagine the fun I'll have telling people I live in a condemned house! Okay, so maybe I'm the only one who would see the humor in that. Anyhow, we've been given our 90 day notice--more or less--and so are now able to actively look for a new home.

I have to laugh because the timing couldn't be worse. As of today, Sunday, February 20th, I am 16 days away from my due date. Technically, the baby could come any time in between now and then or even after. So, well, you can see why I'm a bit crazed at the moment. There's the city to deal with, packing to finish, the hunt for a new house, the loan process to agonize through, not to mention the myriad of financial woes we are having to contend with--the city is buying us out after all and they're not exactly willing to shell out a lot of dough. Add to that preparations for the baby, the usual aches and pains of late term pregnancy, my already restless nights due to discomfort and frequent bathroom runs, work and all that entails, and dealing with the insurance company in regards to the burglary. Oh, and I'm not reading. At least not much.

With all that said, I somehow feel quite calm (yes, even with the craze) and ready to push through it all (in more ways than one!). I am optimistic while being realistic about what we can expect, remembering that flexibility is key. It helps too that the baby coming and the new house are positive changes in my life, however stressful. The process of getting there may not be ideal, sure, but doesn't that just mean I'll appreciate the end products even more? Not to mention it makes a great story to tell our daughter when she's older!

I don't think I could manage so well without my husband, hurt shoulder and all, by my side through all of this. We are each others biggest strengths right now. Sappy maybe, but oh so true.

I appreciate that you all have been patient with me. My lack of reading has spread to a lack of attention to my blog and an inability to keep in better touch with you. I imagine it won't get much better in the weeks to come but don't count me out completely!

Have a great week. May your reading bring you contentment and satisfaction.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Fill In Fun & A Giveaway (LibraryThing Lifetime Membership)

Graphic courtesy of Tonya!
*Click on the image above graphic to get to the Friday Fill-In headquarters, hosted by Janet!*

1. Family gatherings can be mixed blessings.

2. Life in general is full of ups and downs, sometimes seemingly more of one than the other.

3. Trust, once lost, is not easily regained.

4. Just because we want something to be a certain way, doesn't mean it is for the best.

5. Parents are always on the job, even when that child is 40.

6. I remember well what was said. And yet he hoped I had forgotten. It was, in fact, his birthday.

7. And as for the weekend, this morning I have a prenatal appointment, and then I hope to spend part of the afternoon clearing out the spare bedroom and putting away baby shower gifts; tomorrow my plans include entertaining my cousins during the morning hours and meeting with the real estate agent in the afternoon; and Sunday, I want to go shopping! We need to fill some of the gaps of baby items we still need. I also should probably pack that hospital bag, something I've been saying I will do for the last three weeks.

What are your weekend plans?

Question of the Day: If you were trapped in an elevator with no hope of rescue for at least three hours and all you had was a book, which book would you wish most wish you had with you?

Giveaway: I love LibraryThing. When my computer was stolen, I lost my spreadsheet listing all of my TBR books along with my separate list of all the books that I brought into the home (gifts, purchases, review books, borrowed books) over the last two years. Fortunately, I was also entering the books into my LibraryThing catalog where I would make little notes about where the books came from. So, all was not lost after all! I also enjoy the community aspect of LibraryThing, although I am not always the most active member.

I am offering one lucky reader a lifetime membership to LibraryThing. If you would like a chance to win, please fill out the below form. The deadline to enter is February 18, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. PST. The winner will be chosen at random and will be notified by e-mail. Answer the question of the day in the comment section for an extra entry!

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: The Hanging Tree by Bryan Gruley

I have learned that you can be too grateful for love. [1st sentence]

The Hanging Tree by Bryan Gruley
Touchstone, 2010
Crime Fiction; 336 pgs

It was actually after having read a couple of very positive book blog reviews of The Hanging Tree that I decided to read Starvation Lake Starvation Lake, the first book in the series. I ended up really liking Starvation Lake, especially for the sense of place it created and the flawed and interesting characters. The Hanging Tree was written in much the same vein. I found the mystery more tightly woven than it had been in the first book, and what I especially liked about the first book was ever present in this sequel as well.

Gus Carpenter is a small town journalist. He had once been on his way to winning a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting but bad choices led to his downfall. He returned home with his tail between his legs. The Hanging Tree picks up where Starvation Lake left off; Gus isn't the most well liked person in town, his digging for the truth often coming into conflict with the town's plans expand and boost the sunken economy.

Starvation Lake is a hockey-crazed town. Gus himself plays hockey in an area league. He wants a new rink as much as anyone. However, he upsets a lot of people by reporting on the financial woes of the financier of the proposed new hockey rink. Even his employers are up in arms and do what they can to try and prevent Gus from causing any more ruckus than he already has. If that isn't bad enough, matters are complicated for Gus when his second cousin, Gracie, is found dead, hanging from a tree. Her death in all appearances is a suicide, but something about it doesn't sit well with Gus or Darlene, Gracie's best friend and a local sheriff deputy. Gus begins to doubt Gracie's death was a suicide.

The more he digs into both his cousin's death and the wealthy financier of the rink, the more secrets he uncovers, and those secrets involve some very powerful people. Gus will risk his job and possibly his life to get to the truth.

Like Starvation Lake, The Hanging Tree is a character-driven novel. The author takes his time weaving together the intricate stories of his characters as well as the main plot point. While this book would stand very well on its own (the author does a good job of bringing the reader up to date without revealing the plot in the first book), I am glad I had the background provided in Starvation Lake when beginning this one. Knowing the characters' histories in more detail only enhanced my enjoyment of The Hanging Tree.

Gus has grown since the first novel and yet he still grapples with the mistakes he has made in the past. He has a lot on his plate. His girlfriend's estranged husband reappears and only adds to his personal problems. His relationship with his now deceased cousin had been strained at best and he is beginning to realize just how little he truly knew her. And Gus' mother is struggling with bouts of memory loss, her own health deteriorating. His work helps keep him focused and often leads him to truths about himself and those close to him that he might not have known otherwise.

Bryan Gruley adeptly addresses the changing scene of the newspaper business in the United States, giving readers a first hand look at the waning interesting in paper sales and the growing interest in online media resources. I confess I'm one of those people who long ago stopped subscribing to the actual newspaper but do subscribe to several online news sources. It's fast and convenient--not to mention cleaner (no black ink to wash off), trends our society values more and more.

The Hanging Tree is a great sequel to Starvation Lake and I look forward to seeing what the author has in store for his readers next.

You can learn more about Bryan Gruley and his books on the author's website.

Source: Book provided by publisher for review.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Review: The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

At 7:35 A.M. Ishigami left his apartment as he did ever yweekeday morning. Just before stepping out onto the street, he glanced at the mostly full bicycle lot, noting the absence of the green bicycle. [opening to The Devotion of Suspect X]

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
(translated by Alexander O. Smith with Elye J. Alexander)
Minotaur Books, February 2011
Crime Fiction; 304 pgs

From the Publisher:
Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day to extort money from her, threatening both her and her teenaged daughter Misato, the situation quickly escalates into violence and Togashi ends up dead on her apartment floor. Overhearing the commotion, Yasuko’s next door neighbor, middle-aged high school mathematics teacher Ishigami, offers his help, disposing not only of the body but plotting the cover-up step-by-step.

When the body turns up and is identified, Detective Kusanagi draws the case and Yasuko comes under suspicion. Kusanagi is unable to find any obvious holes in Yasuko’s manufactured alibi and yet is still sure that there’s something wrong. Kusanagi brings in Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and college friend who frequently consults with the police. Yukawa, known to the police by the nickname Professor Galileo, went to college with Ishigami. After meeting up with him again, Yukawa is convinced that Ishigami had something to do with the murder. What ensues is a high level battle of wits, as Ishigami tries to protect Yasuko by outmaneuvering and outthinking Yukawa, who faces his most clever and determined opponent yet.
When I first saw mention of Keigo Higashino's novel on the BookBrowse website, I knew I had to read it. I was intrigued by the description of the novel and am always eager to read mysteries set in countries other than my own.

I wasn't disappointed. The novel is engaging and fast paced--not to mention a great puzzle. It's not often I don't see the end coming in crime fiction, but I honestly had no idea what to expect as the events unfolded in The Devotion of Suspect X. Seeing the two geniuses at work, both Yukawa and Ishigami, as one tried to solve the crime and the other to hide it, I was reminded a bit of Sherlock Holmes.

My heart went out to Yasuko and her teenage daughter. And I liked Detective Kusanagi's tenacity and dedication to solving the crime. I found myself cheering him on while at the same time hoping the truth would not come out. Ishigami was the most interesting character, and perhaps the one that was more fully developed of them all. My feelings for him changed a couple of times as the story progressed and the more I got to know him. Yukawa was the most elusive of the characters. He clearly was an intelligent man, but I wouldn't have minded getting to know more about him.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Higashino's The Devotion of Suspect X; so much so that it made my top ten crime fiction list last year. I hope to see more of the author's work in the future.

Rating: * (Very Good)

Source: I received the book for review from the BookBrowse First Impressions Program.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Monday Musings: What I'm Reading & New Books for the TBR Collection

Hosted by Sheila of One Persons Journey Through a World of Books
Weekly meme where we discuss the books you've read
and those you plan to read in the coming week.

I do love a good book about books; add to it a mystery and it's even better. This past week I finished Allison Hoover Barlett's The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, a nonfiction book about a rare book thief. I am now reading Frank Delaney's The Matchmaker of Kenmare, a novel set in Ireland during World War II. It's one of those books I do best to read in big gulps rather than in brief spurts, and unfortunately spurts is about all I have been able to manage lately. Hopefully I will find more time to read this week.

I am not sure what I will be reading next. Perhaps Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs or Christine Falls by Benjamin Black?

What are you reading at the moment?

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Library of Clean Reads (February Host)
We share what books that we found
in our mailboxes last week.

While sorting through old letters and cards, I discovered a seven year old gift card to a local bookstore. After verifying it was still good, decided to add to my collection of Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series books and ordered Bone Crossed and Silver Borne. My husband and I had agreed I would buy them only after reading the second book in the series, but I had a weak moment. My excuse is that I didn't actually spend any of my own money. Does that count?

Also in the mail this past week, I received For the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick from fellow blogger Wisteria of Bookworm's Dinner through LibraryThing's SantaThing program (thanks, Wisteria!).

Meanwhile, my husband received Under the Skin by Michel Faber from LibraryThing member HarryBookGnome via the same exchange program. And even though the book is a gift to my husband, I can't wait to read it myself! I loved the author's The Crimson Petal and White.

Other books that came into the house recently (purchased by me):
Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, the Afterlife by Francine Prose
In Stranger Tides by Tim Powers (a gift for my husband)
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (e-book)
What's a Ghoul to Do? (Ghost Hunter Mystery Series #1) by Victoria Laurie (e-book)

While out and about this past weekend, I also purchased a few more books for Mouse. She has quite a TBR stack of her own, and she hasn't yet made her entrance into this world! Anjin says soon her TBR stack will be taller than his. I'm afraid he's probably right on that account.

What new books have come your way recently?

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