Book Twentysix: Once Upon a Quinceañera

Once Upon a Quinceañera, Julia Alvarez

This book read like a term paper. And that is all I have to say about that.

Book Twentyfive: Watchmen

Watchmen, Alan Moore

This really is a great book, and I can't believe I haven't read it until now. I liked V for Vendetta to a certain extent, but this is much, much better. There is a lovely cohesiveness to the seemingly scattered story. Themes keep repeating and overlaid stories subtly echo the visuals and ideas in the main plot. And yet... I'm starting to think that Mr. Alan Moore is totally off his rocker. In a way that kind of scares me. Whatever vision he has for a future world is a world I do not want to live in. Which may be the point. But I'm just saying.

Book Twentyfour: Flower Net

Flower Net, Lisa See

This was a freebie at my book club--actually this plus the other two in the series--and I couldn't resist it. A mystery set in China? Sign me up! It's not that it was bad, but it just wasn't quite as good as I wanted it to be. There were even elements of Chinese medicine in there (which was quite accurate, I'm happy to report) and part of the story was set in Chengdu, which I loved. However, not all of the pieces came together for me. The romance between the two main characters was pretty clunky and, I thought, unnecessary, and the ending left me thinking, "Meh." But there was also some interesting stuff about the Cultural Revolution, Chinese organized crime, and some lovely descriptions of Chinese culture and food that made me miss China just a tiny bit.

Also, I could only read this imagining the movie playing in my head, and I couldn't decide if that was bad or good. I have never read a book that feels so much like a movie. I mean, it seemed almost as if it was transcribed from a movie, which was totally weird. Perhaps it's that my only exposure to this genre has been in the movies so that's all I could picture, but I'm thinking that's only the partial truth. This was Lisa See's first attempt at a mystery/thriller and maybe that's all she could see in her head, too. Just a thought.

I have the other two books in the series sitting around, so I'm sure at some point I'll pick them up. This was a pretty fast read and perhaps Lisa See worked through some of the clunkiness of this first book in the next two. We'll see.

Book Twentythree: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, Eva Rice

About 30 pages from finishing this book this morning, I had an irresistible craving for fresh scones, so Chris and I assessed the pantry and discovered with delight that we had all the makings for cherry almond scones on hand. About 45 minutes later, after some mixing and baking and a quick run to the corner store for soy milk, we had hot scones with butter and jam, along with a fresh pot of tea and soymilk. Yum! A perfect accompaniment to this sweet little British story that takes place in the mid 50s. The characters were fascinating and the descriptions of houses and stores and clothes and post-war London and tea time snacks were vivid and beautiful and, even though the dialogue at times wasn't the best, I was swept along with the story to the very end.