February may be the shortest month of the year, but I still managed to read eight books, one of which was a reread and two were read for research. These are not “critiques”, but I will recommend certain books that really stayed with me. So – here we go!
CALL OF THE WILD BY JACK LONDON – I have to admit, I had never read this book. It was never assigned to me in school and I tend to stay away from animal books because, well, they typically upset me (the animal rarely survives the book, right?). This is definitely the story of the magnificent dog Buck – and at roughly 160 pages, it can be read in an afternoon (if you read a page a minute – easily 2.5 hours). It is worth an afternoon of your time!
A PLACE FOR US by Fatima Farheen Mirza – The first novel by Mirza is the story of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered together in their Californian hometown to celebrate the eldest daughter’s wedding. The estranged son, Amar, returns after three years. The book spans decades and is told through the eyes of each family member (the parents, two daughters, one son). It is a moving, emotional tale, especially the last 40 or so pages. Interestingly, Sarah Jessica Parker has acquired the rights to this, so it may be coming to a silver screen near you!
THE PEACOCK EMPORIUM by JoJo Moyes – I like JoJo Moyes, but this is an early book (published in the UK in 2004, reprinted in the US in 2019) and it shows. It is a pleasant read with an ensemble cast in a small town – but it didn’t stay with me for more than a few moments after I finished the last page.
RADIANT ANGEL by Nelson DeMille – This is the most recent book featuring the sarcastic John Corey (published 2015) – an all around good guy and a great character. Of course it is extremely violent and often gory, with the island of Manhattan at stake. This is not DeMille’s finest hour, too many subplots (like his wife’s dalliance in DC), with a cookie cutter ending. Still, it is a fun read.
THE MUSE by Jessie Burton – I love mysteries that are set in the art world! Two stores are told, set 30 years apart, in Spain and London. Odelle Bastian, from Trinidad, lands a job in an art gallery working with Marjorie Quick, and finds a painting on the doorstep. Is it a lost masterpiece of Isaac Robles, who died mysteriously years earlier. There are alot of secrets and deceptions in the book, and even though I figured out the mystery early on, I kept reading, because I wasn’t 100% sure if I was correct (I was partially correct!).
MY TALK PRETTY ONE DAY by David Sedaris – I am NOT a book hoarder. While I keep reference books, signed first editions, books from my childhoods and art books, I do NOT keep every book I read unless I know I will pick it up again one day. This is such a book – I read it 15 years ago (published in 2001) and knew it was worth keeping. The book is laugh out loud funny – with stories of David’s family and his move to France. His sister Amy Sedaris makes a hilarious entrance dressed in a fat suit for the Christmas holidays!
LOVE ME TENDER – THE STORIES BEHING THE WORLD’S BEST LOVED SONGS – by Max Cryer –
I am currently working on a series of painting based on music and memory, with each piece based on a specific song, which I also learn to play on the piano! So, it makes sense to me to research the history of the songs too! This book is so interesting – some of the stories I had heard, some were new to me. Did you know the person that wrote the lyrics to Danny Boy never set foot in Ireland? Or, Waltzing Matilda’s copyright expired in Australia in 1991, but the copyright in the US didn’t expire until 2011, therefore at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Australia had to pay to use its own song! Short chapters, fact packed and a humorous delivery!!!!
A GLORIOUS FREEDOM – WOMEN LEADING EXTRADORINARY LIVES by Lisa Congdon – This was also research for a class I am putting together about the forgotten women or art. This book goes a step further by highlighting many women that deserve their due. I’ll let Lisa tell you about the book:
What are you thought? Do you have any recommendations?