Tuesday Teaser: Headhunters by Jo Nesbo

Tuesday Teasers is hosted by Should Be Reading. The rules are as follows:

Grab your current read and let the book fall open to a random page. Share two sentences from somewhere on that page and the title of the book that you’re getting the teaser from. Please avoid spoilers! Read the official Tuesday Teaser Rules.

This week my teaser is from Headhunters by Jo Nesbo. From page 128:

I was on my way into the house when I remembered. The alarm. I definitely did not want security men from Tripolis swarming around here now, nor live camera surveillance of me with a half-dead Ove Kjikerud.

Frank Delaney on Book Bloggers and the state of Literary Criticism‏

The following is part of a Tribune interview with Frank Delaney (author of several books including one that I reviewed, Venetia Kelly's Travelling Show. You can read the complete interview on the Tribune's website.

Tribune: How strong is the pulse of literary fiction, criticism and serious examination of literature in the 21st century? Who are today's shining literary lights?

Frank Delaney: "Great question! People have been saying for generations, “Oh, the novel is dead.” Well, it ain't – nor is that wonderful American invention, creative nonfiction, nor is biography, nor is political writing. And as well as the books, the commentariat is alive and well.

In fact, there's an argument to be made that it's healthier than ever, because we now have this wonderful new creature, the Literary Blogger. I'm a massive fan of this gorgeous animal, with all its fur and feathers – for a number of reasons. My main complaint about the general direction of literary criticism over the last century has been – and Joyce is a case in point – that it tended, in its lofty tone and often impenetrable language (not to mention occasional vendetta behavior), to be antidemocratic, to keep certain areas of literature to itself, whereas my own passion is for as many people as possible to be reading as widely as possible.

The Literary Bloggers have no axes to grind, they're not protecting their reputations, they don't fear being sneered at by other critics, they're reading what they want to read, writing what they want to write, and they don't want to keep what they enjoy to themselves. They want to share. They want to expand the constituency of reading. They want to hail and applaud good writing. To my mind this is a very significant development – uneven, I grant, here and there, but, dammit, not as uneven as the generations of formal literary critics, and the blogging intention is so good and so worthy of loud vocal support that you can call it truly a new and, to my mind, incomparably welcome development in the world of reading and writing."

Review: Blue Monday by Nicci French

If I belonged to a mystery/thriller book club, Blue Monday would be an excellent choice for the club read. There are so many things going on in this book that would lead to good discussions. Is such and such character really who they claim to be? What is the main character’s real motivation? What is she hiding? There are so many questions and it would be fun to get other opinions, so I’ll be reading other reviews aside from mine. I can’t imagine however that I will read a bad review!

Blue Monday kept me awake until the wee hours on Sunday night and made me late for work (yes, I blame it on the book!) the next morning. Not because I slept in too late but because I picked it up again in the morning and just had to finish those last fifty pages!

The premise is an interesting one: a psychotherapist suspects one of her patients is involved in the disappearance of a young boy. What the therapist does with her suspicions leads the reader on an ever-deepening mystery about what exactly is going on. Meanwhile, the boy is still missing. There are lighter moments too in the form of a builder from the Ukraine. He conveys a humorously solemn feeling to the scenes he is in.

Blue Monday is a must-read for mystery and thriller fans and for those who haven’t tried that genre yet. This book has just the right amount of creepiness. It’s got what I call the ‘chill’ factor in spades: that feeling you get when you thought you knew what was going on but come to the slow realization that there was something else eerily creepy taking place right under your nose. This is an engrossing read and one I highly recommend.

Review: The Book Club Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

I love cookbooks and obviously I love to read, so when the offer came to review The Book Club Cookbook, I jumped at it. What could be more fun than to have available some of the recipes from the most popular book club books? And if it’s your turn to host your book club, well, this book will make choosing a dish so much easier.

This book covers some of my favourite novels: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Lisa See), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows), and The Help (Kathryn Stockett) as well as some I have yet to read but are on the top of my towering TBR list: Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese) and Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen). Actually, the list of books on my own TBR list overlaps quite a bit with the books featured in this cookbook. Each novel’s recipe is preceded by a description of the source book and some are followed by an explanation of the food, thoughts from the author and/or a book club’s take on the book itself and why they chose a particular food for their club.

So far I’ve made two recipes (and I’m planning another for this weekend). Both are cookies – Chewy Oatmeal from the book Plainsong by Kent Haruf and Chocolate Chip Shortbread from Bee Season by Myla Goldberg. Both turned out great and were gobbled up by my family in no time. There aren't just cookies or sweets though – savory dishes are included as well. There is Zaytoon’s Chicken Shwarma from Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn, Britta’s Crab Casserole from The Hours by Michael Cunningham, Greek Rice Pudding and Tzatziki from Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. There are drinks in here too: Glögg from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as well as soups and salads. An ambitious book club could have an entire meal with several courses if they didn’t mind mixing their books!

Another great thing about this book club cookbook is that the featured novels range from contemporary to classic, so that a club is bound to find something of interest. I would go further and say I could see using the cookbook itself for future club choice ideas. It would also make a great gift for an avid reader, book club member or not. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday Teaser:

Tuesday Teasers is hosted by Should Be Reading. The rules are as follows:

Grab your current read and let the book fall open to a random page. Share two sentences from somewhere on that page and the title of the book that you’re getting the teaser from. Please avoid spoilers! Read the official Tuesday Teaser Rules.

My teaser is from The Widow's War by Sally Gunning. From page 128:

Lyddie had the good fortune to run into no one along the King's road, but at the intersection with the landing road her luck turned. An old, wasted man limped toward her; once he got close she realized it was no old man at all but Nathan's brother, Silas Clarke, the so-called limp more a list from the usual cause.

Mailbox Monday, March 5, 2012

In March Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Diary of an Eccentric.

I received Robert Rotenberg's newest novel (to be published May 1st) called Stray Bullets. The description from Simon and Schuster's website reads:

In The Guilty Plea and Old City Hall, critically acclaimed author Robert Rotenberg created gripping page-turners that captured audiences in Canada and around the world. Rotenberg’s bestsellers do for Toronto what Ian Rankin has done for Edinburgh and Michael Connelly for Los Angeles.

In Stray Bullets, Rotenberg takes the reader to a snowy November evening. Outside a busy downtown doughnut shop, gunshots ring out and a young boy is critically hurt. Soon Detective Ari Greene is on scene. How many shots were fired? How many guns? How many witnesses?

With grieving parents and a city hungry for justice, the pressure is on to convict the man accused of this horrible crime. Against this tidal wave of indignation, defense counsel Nancy Parish finds herself defending her oldest and most difficult client.

But does anyone know the whole story?

Stray Bullets is Robert Rotenberg’s third intricate mystery set on the streets and in the courtrooms of Toronto.

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