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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Confession by John Grisham

I think John Grisham is sort of the Jane Austen of the mystery and suspense genres, and I mean that in the best possible way, because I'm a Jane freak.  I don't think I've ever read a Grisham book that I haven't liked, but this one was really good.  A page turner, maybe even cant-put-downable.  There are some good little video links on this page.  Back to Jane Austen; in her wonderful, timeless novels, everyone gets their due, good or bad.  Grisham is a bit more realistic than that, but that's ok, because it's a totally different genre.  Jane IS her own genre.  But what I always look forward to in a Grisham book, is this same, satisfying conclusion, where justice really does win for the most part.  I love seeing the good be validated, and I LOVE seeing the bad guys get their butts kicked.  The comeuppance, the justice in everyday life that we have all wanted ever since we were little kids.  So, the story is that there's a serial killer running around, a young woman disappears, and the wrong man has gone to prison.  And the police put him there, because, desperate for a conviction, they took the easy route and set up the wrong man, who is now the supreme victim in all this.  Enter various other characters, such as the missing girl's mother, who puts all her energy and life into this wrongful conviction.  A young Baptist pastor who inexplicably finds himself right smack in the middle of all this.  The small Texas town itself becomes a character, and it comes alive on the pages, right down to the high school football scene that is so famous in Texas.  The clock is ticking for the innocent man on death row, and the real killer is running around loose, free to kill again.  Just a good read, a nice break from all the heavy literature.  And I, for one, am getting this for my husband for a Christmas present!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Swimming by Nicola Keegan

I know this book has been around for a year or two, but I'm just now getting around to reading it.  I'm glad I did, because it took me to a new world, into the rarefied air of an Olympic gold medalist.  I like a book that takes me someplace new.  Here is a quote from Publisher's Weekly:

Keegan takes on death, religion, relationships and coming-of-age in her gorgeously stylized and irreverent debut about a rising Olympic swimming star. Not even a year after Philomena "Pip" Ash is born in 1960s Middle America, her parents put their rambunctious infant in a pool and watch the remarkable sight of a nine-month-old gliding through the water. With some help from Olympic Supercoach Ernest K. Mankovitz, Pip becomes a mercenary swimming machine who wins an unprecedented collection of gold medals in three Olympic games. Though Pip's connection with water is preternaturally intense, she can't relate to people, a dilemma heightened by early encounters with death and her innate awareness of loathsome pain and insecurities. After going through a premature career climax and the subsequent plummet, Pip is forced to deal with emotions she's spent her life ignoring; her sarcastic (and f-bomb laden) musings provide many amusing turns, while Keegan's linguistic playfulness moves the story at a fast clip, even if it sometimes muddles what's going on—particularly toward the end. This is worth reading for the prose alone.
Some of the language seemed a bit clipped and narcissistic at times, until the story moved along and I realized that Pip did try to do what she could.  She had issues of her own to deal with and after all, the young ARE narcissistic.  I imagine that is really the case with extreme athletes also, and compared to most, maybe Pip is just trying to do her best in life, as we all are.  Something different and entertaining, for me anyway.