Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reading in the new year

I am at my most voracious in regards to reading at the beginning of the new year. The parties are over, the food eaten, the wine drunk and the dishes are finally done! And all I want to do every evening is curl up with a good book.
I've managed a few so far this year:
I finished off "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral", Barbara Kingsolver's book on her and her family's year of living locally and off the land of their farm in Kentucky. I took me a couple of chapters to get into it, but once I did I was hooked. It is part novel, part resource guide and wholly inspirational. It is the life I would love to lead.

Next on the list was "Sarah's Key", by Tatiana de Rosnay, which Jason gave me for Christmas. I had spotted it in the bookstore months before and indicated my interest. The writing was so-so and the side plots and little Danielle Steele romance novel-y for me.
But at the heart of the novel is the story of the 1942 roundups in which thousands of Jews were arrested, deported from Paris to the Velodrome d'Hiver and then sent to Auschwitz and the young girl, Sarah Starzynski, who is the only member of her family to survive the atrocity. Her story is told through the eyes of a present day American woman who has lived in Paris for 25 years, married a french man whose family's history overlapped with that of the Starzynski family years before.
Essentially, the problem of this book is too little of the holocaust and too much modern day marital drama. But the book does bring to light an episode in French history that most people have been all to happy to forget.

Finally, I read finished off the book I gave to Jason for Christmas, "The Monster of Florence" by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi. True crime novel about a serial killer who stalked the tuscany countryside in the 70s, 80s and 90s, killing young couples as they made love in cars on deserted country lanes. This was part of my "Tuscan Themed" Christmas presents I wanted to give Jason. What can I say, he said he wanted to read it. I don't even feel bad about reading it before he did! I used to devour true crime novels but have gotten away from the genre. I loved the book, the artwork on the cover is my favorite statue in the Loggia in the Piazza della Signoria, and the best treat was seeing our friend, Count Niccolo Capponi in the book! Don't worry, he was not a suspect ;-)
And my next book is the most interesting yet. However, that will be for another day...

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