Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Books I've read lately.

I've been remiss on writing about books I've been reading, so I shall do so now.  Quickly.  I'm not going to go into a lot of details, tho.  Or worry too much about grammatical conventions. Just 'cause.

First I read "Five People You Meet In Heaven".  I can't remember the author.  It was a mystical little book about an elderly amusement park worker who died in a work related accident, while trying to save a small girl from the same fate.  After his death he meets 5 people who's lives he impacted, some of whom he'd never known while he was alive.  Basically his whole life history comes out with these people, and it was interesting.  The author's concept of Heaven though has nothing to do with religion, at least not with Judeo-Christian traditions.  You've seen the same concept a thousand times in movies & TV shows.  Heaven is not a physical place but a state of mind, and it's different for each person.  Not sure that'd past muster with a Baptist preacher.

I also read "The Summons" by John Grisham.  This was a good story, I don't think John Grisham writes bad stories, but there wasn't anything great about it.  In this book an elderly judge is dieing, and he summons he two sons (hence the title) to his Mississippi home, supposedly to settle the estate.  But he dies before they arrive, and the more responsible brother finds boxes filled with cash.  Something over $3,000,000.  His father never earned more than $50,000 a year in his life, so something strange has happened.  The rest of the book deals with the money, and has a semi strange (but only semi) twist.  Not bad reading.

Then I read Ken Follet's "The Man From St. Petersburg", which I thought was very good.   The main characters are Felix, a Russian anarchist, and Lady Charlotte, the daughter of the Earl of Walden, and it is set in the summer of 1914, in the months preceding the start of World War I.  It's kind of a spy story, but not really, and it gives vivid descriptions of British society & customs in the early 20th century.  Prince Alexsey has come to England to negotiate a treaty.  The British negotiator is the Earl, who happens to be the Prince's cousin by marriage.  Felix knows that if the negotiations succeed, Russia will enter the coming war on the side of England and France & he wants to stop that.  Not out of love for Germany, he just doesnt want Russia to go to war.  So the story is about his attempts to assassinate the Prince.  Now there is a history between Felix & the Earl of Walden's wife, the result of which was Lady Charlotte, tho the Earl doesn't know.  And Lady Charlotte is coming of age and is expressing a lot of interest in politics, the suffragette movement and society as a whole, much to her mother's dismay.  Felix and Charlotte meet, and she is drawn into the web.  I liked this book a lot.

And I also read "Precious Victims" by a couple of authors who names I can't remember.  This is a true crime book, and tho it told an almost unbelievable story, I thought it was very poorly written.  There were a ton of people in the book, so that was hard to keep straight, and many times they were referred to in one sentence by their first name and the next by their last name, so that just added to the confusion.   The book tells about a couple in Illinois (not to far from St. Louis I gather), Robert and Paula Sims, who had three children in the 1980s.   Both daughters were found dead, and Paula Sims, who gave unbelievable stories in both cases, was convicted of murdering the 2nd daughter.   That's about all I want to say about it, it was pretty tedious.  And not Kafka tedious, but bad writing tedious.  It looked like it was written in a hurry, and could have used a bit more editing.  And it could have been a lot shorter.

I'm one to talk, I know.

Not sure what I'm going to read next.


Patti Anne said...

I find it remarkable that you can remember all those details about books. Then again, you are a history major!

linlah said...

I may have to read the 5 People book now because your description actually made me want to read it after picking it up and putting it down in the bookstore for as long as it's been out.

A Valdese Blogger said...

PA thanks!

linlah: If you can figure out how to get a used copy, you'll like it better.

Thanks for the comments!