Sleep often eludes me, so I just keep on reading until it finds me. (And when it doesn’t, I will read all night long!) It seems the best way of getting all the open tabs in my mind to gently close, until I am well and truly focused only on the printed page before me. It is one of the reasons there is always a ridiculously high stack of books on the stand beside me; if I can’t get into one, back it goes and I pick up something else. But there they remain until I’ve read them, sooner or later.
I thought I knew what my next read would be, but I couldn’t get into either title just yet. Not sure why. I’ll try again another time. Instead, I read:
4) HER LAST BREATH, by Linda Castillo. It was pretty good–I read it in a day and a half. After I had read her previous one I had decided I was finished with her. All of her books have a former Amish woman, Kate, as the chief of police, and the crimes she investigates have grown more and more horrifying and dark. Kate usually gets the stuffing kicked out of her at least once in each book, too. She’s a tough woman and I like her character very much; I also like the man she has fallen more and more in love with–despite their efforts to resist it–whom she calls mostly by his last name, Tomasetti. He has his own dark past. They’re a good fit, no matter how they try to deny it.
As I said, I’d not intended to read any more of her books, but I decided to give this one a try. I actually had it mostly figured out by the time I finished it, having got moments here and there where a character just wasn’t what they seemed. But I did like the way Kate herself knew that the answer was lurking at the edge of her mind.
It was worth the read, but remember how I spoke of things that jump out at you, annoy you, when you’ve read multiple titles by certain authors? Seems as if every man she describes is wearing jeans and a blue polo shirt. Seems as if nearly every time she was choosing something to eat, it was bread and cheese and grapes and wine. I wanted to see more individuality….. I read tonight that she’ll have another book out in July. We’ll see if I cave and read that one. I might….because a body buried in the first of her books resurfaced in this one, and the fallout is sure to occur in that forthcoming one…even though Tomasetti assures Kate it won’t.
5) I REMEMBER NOTHING AND OTHER REFLECTIONS by Nora Ephron. It’s a small book, and I bought it simply because I knew it was her last book. I’ve always enjoyed her writing and I’m sad to know there’ll be no more of it. No one knew she was ill until the last few days before her untimely death, but there are small hints easily spotted in this, here and there, when you read it after the fact.
The best way I can describe this is that, like everything else she wrote, you feel as if she’s talking directly to you, which is what I liked most. Actually….it feels as if I am reading her blog, which had the same open, easy style. Reading her always makes me want to read more of her. I have every book she wrote, so I’ll go online in search of articles and interviews.
6) UNTOLD MILLIONS, by Laura Z. Hobson. This is a book I have read at least once each year, usually more than once, since first reading it 30 years ago. It was her last book, and it was my favorite of all her books, which says a lot, because she is one of my favorite authors and I have read everything she wrote. Untold Millions, as with several others of her work, made me suspect she’d based it on a particular chapter of her own life (a young woman newly graduated from Cornell in the early ’20s, moving in with a man she loves and becoming an incredibly successful copywriter. One aspect I especially enjoyed was a dinner conversation where she and her lover and their co-workers discuss all the things you can’t talk about in ad copy….the very same things that are all over the ads today. I suspect she was smiling and all tongue in cheek, herself, when she wrote it, realizing how far things had come in the 60 years since then.
7) LAURA Z: A LIFE, THE EARLY YEARS AND YEARS OF FULFILLMENT, THE COMPLETE LIFE OF A UNIQUE WOMAN OF THE CENTURY by Laura Z. Hobson (with an afterword by her son, Christopher Z. Hobson. This,too, is a re-read, for two reasons: someone I once trusted donated the books she had promised to store for me. This was one I lost during that unbelievable betrayal (my books mean everything to me, and many of the ones I lost were irreplaceable, things that had been given me as keepsakes when my grandfather died, when a beloved uncle died, and so on.) I recently found a used copy of this for sale and snatched it right up.
The other reason is that having just re-read Untold Millions, I wanted to read her bio again. She really was a woman of the century, born in 1900, with a twin sister. She was best known for Gentleman’s Agreement,which was a thunder-clap in its time, another one I liked very much. So too did I like The Tenth Month. All three of these books were what had sent me in search of her biography in the first place, because I believed each one was quite autobiographical.
And I was right. She was strong, intelligent, opinionated, and fascinating. Anyone who likes to read about such women would like this one, whether they ever read any of her novels. I suspect, though, if they did…they would soon find themselves seeking more of her work, and sitting right down to become completely absorbed, as I am each time I read again anything she’s written, no matter how many times I’ve read it before.
Next up WILL be another Jen Lancaster. It’s the weekend. Time for something fun.
What are YOU reading?