Irreverent Mama

Monday, October 05, 2009

September's Library Challenge Books

Total to date this year: 57

1. Sorry, Walter (Judi Curran). Depressive Irish girl with sound sense of humour goes on a holiday to Canada and finds true love. Good, fluffy fun.

2. The Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society (Augusta Trobaugh). Three sweet little old southern ladies find themselves planning someone's demise when one of their society finds herself married to an abusive con artist.

3. The Canadian Book of Snobs (Victoria Branden). Tongue-in-cheek book. Beginning with a history of snobbery, then exploring its current manifestions in Canadian society. Sexsnobbery, worksnobbery, wordsnobs, carsnobs, food, heros, poems, religion, education... is there any realm of human endeavour that doesn't have snobbery attached to it? In a word, no.

4. Match Game (Beverly Brandt). Abandoned by her emotionally lazy groom when she is cuffed and hauled away at the altar, straight-arrow accountant Savannah decides to track down the woman who stole her identity. And finds true love in the process -- and a shiny new career. Fluff, but fun.

5. A Conspiracy of Paper (David Liss). Set in 18th-Century London, the story follows Benjamin Weaver, former pugilist turned investigator as he picks his way through the multitudinous layers of deceit, power-broking, and murder that is the budding stock exchange. The story is very clever, but you also learn a fair bit about the enormous social changes triggered by the introduction of paper money. Who knew it was more than a logistical improvement? -- bills weigh far less than coins, after all -- but apparently this shift changed the pysche of a society. Fascinating.

6. Jailbird's Daughter (Irene Carr). Standard plot: impoverished-but-worthy young lady makes her own way in the world despite the social odds stacked against her, and is rewarded for her efforts with the love of a good (and wealthy) man. With standard plot twist 1: heroine dislikes hero intensely at first. Except it doesn't work. The heroine is a lovely young woman who, for no apparent reason (except to fulfill plot twist 1) behaves in a manner utterly out of character with him. Only with him, mind you. She just doesn't react that way to people. Why do it with him? Oh, yeah. So they can overcome the obstacle of her poor opinion. Right. I expected a frivolous read, but this didn't manage even that.

7. Whistling for the Elephants (Sandi Toksvig). Part allegory, part coming-of-age story, this jaunty tale veers chaotically through a surreal landscape filled with more-than-just-quirky characters. Very clever, very weird, well worth the time.

8. Darling Daughters (Elizabeth Troop). A novel-within-a-novel in which the main character is an author who reminisces about her childhood as the sole child of a single mother in World War II England through her quasi-biographical novel-turned-screenplay. Though at times the author's depiction of a 10-year-old's mind rang pleasingly true, I often found the 10-year-old 'Sarah' too wise to be real -- even intelligent and introspective 10-year-olds are just not that perceptive/analytical -- but a good read nonetheless.

9. Lucy (Ellen Feldman). A fictionalized account of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's long-term affair with Lucy Mercer Rutherford. Interesting in that I learned a smattering of history along the way, but the 'affair' itself has an air of being... theoretical, somehow.

10. Other People's Marriages (Shane Watson). Author Anna is researching her book on modern marriages. We are taken into the marriages, affairs, and relationships of Anna and three of her friends, seeing the mundanity, joys, tragedy, hope and compromise that comprise relationships -- modern or otherwise. An interesting and intelligent read, even thought-provoking at times, and though the slightly deus-ex-machina happy ending for Anna is a bit of a stretch, I'm a sucker for a happy ending, so I'll take it. :)

Year's total to date: 67



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