Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Africa House

Christina Lamb I don't read a lot of non-fiction. I like non-fiction, I just am usually lulled by the total non-thinking of paperback mysteries.
I am so glad I took this one home from the library. One of the other librarians had pulled it off teh shelf and was thinking about reading it. She had too many at home already, so she told me to take it.
Shiwa House is a traditional English Manor house built by Sir Stewart Gore-Brown in the early 20th century in Northern Rhodesia(Zambia now). Lamb is a reporter who stumbled upon the neglected manor in the late 20th century. She did some very good research and tells the story of Gore-Brown with depth and emotion. He was so obsessed with building his piece of England in the bush that sometimes he could not see what was around him. It follows his personal triumphs and struggles. At its grandest Shiwa House employed hundreds of Africans and then just 30 years after his death it was a rotted shell of itself.
The story is more of Gore-Browns life and just touches on the decline of the English Empire and African independence, which, surprisingly, Gore-Brown supported.
I really felt like I was there in Africa. The weather, that animals, the people all come alive in Lambs dialogue.
If you read no other non-fiction this year, read this one!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Separate From The World

An Ohio Amish Mystery

P.L. Gaus
I brought this book home from the library last night. And I was able to return it this morning. Yep, read the whole thing last night. And I had the light off by 10:00.
Yo Cynthia, how'd ya do that?
Let me tell ya.
I never put it down. I carried it to two basket ball practices, a band rehearsal and a date with my husband.
Okay, I didn't actually read on our date, but I did have the book with me. It was so worth obsessing over.
Here is a quick synopsis. An Amish midget comes to a burned out college professor to ask him for help because he thinks that his brother has been murdered. While he is there in the professors office one of the professors students jumps to her death from the bell tower right in front of the window they are sitting at.
Into a crowd of anti war protesters.
Crazy and totally compelling. I was instantly drawn into the characters and the plot. And it is twisty and turny in a really nice way.
I love the comments that the Amish make about the lifestyles of the English. I have already returned the book, so I am going to give you a non verbatim quote of my favorite line in the whole book.
The Amish fellow says: (about pre-marital sex)
If sex is free what can you cherish in your
Two big thumbs up on this one. It is number 6 in a series and I plan on reading the rest as soon as I can get my hands on them.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sew Easy to Kill

Bad Language Warning!!

When I looked this one up on Amazon it had two 5 star ratings.

It is probably a good story.

I couldn't get past about page 35.

Bad language out the wazoo was the main problem. But I also just couldn't seem to follow the plot very well. Every chapter introduces a new set of characters that I'm sure were wound into the plot together by the end, but it was just distracting to me in this story.

But really, the language was too gross for me to overlook.