Wendy (here_be_dragons) wrote,
Wendy
here_be_dragons

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Books - #69 Through #73

A few more books for the challenge - I think I'm in very good shape to read even more than 100 books this year. Here are my recent reads:


#69 -
The Raphael Affair - Iain Pears

So-so. An English art scholar believes he's uncovered evidence that a painting by Raphael was painted over by a second-rate 18th century artist (or maybe it happened in the 19th century), and that he has located the painting. This, of course, creates quite a stir in the art world, and the Italian art crime squad gets involved. While the book had it's strong points - lovely descriptions of Italy and likeable characters, I found the mystery itself to be a bit weak, and I most definitely didn't enjoy the ending. (Library)

#70 -
The Attorney - Steve Martini

An enjoyable read - it kept me turning pages past my bedtime. A courtroom drama about a woman who kidnaps her daughter from the grandparents who have custody . . . the grandfather comes to attorney Paul Madriani for help in retrieving his granddaughter. I don't imagine it's much of a spoiler to say that someone involved with the kidnapping turns up dead (most courtroom dramas do center around a murder trial, after all ::grin::), and Madriani has to solve the case and save his client from a guilty verdict. There were some interesting twists and turns, and the author laid his clues pretty well - I'd suspected the real killer early on, but then started to second-guess myself as the book went on. There were times, though, when I found the writing style distracting; it was written in the first person, but occassionally seemed to shift to someone else's PoV for short periods. Or maybe that was my imagination. I found the ending a bit anti-climactic. And, at the end when the killer was revealed (this probably is a bit of a SPOILER) I found myself annoyed that I had seen it early on, but mostly dismissed this character as a possiblitiy because none of the characters in the book seemed to consider (or even *notice*) that this person had oodles of motive and opportunity. So, this person was never even mentioned as a possible suspect, which I found more than a bit unbelieveable. Still, it was worth reading. (Has been BookRelayed)

#71 -
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White

A re-read from childhood; I read this aloud to my son at bedtime over the course of a couple of weeks. It's a lovely book, and still makes me cry. (My son is so sweet - there was much patting of my arm and saying, "It's okay, mummy, I'm here for you"). ::grin:: Bless his heart - but it's just so darned *sad* when . . . well, you know. And if you don't know, I don't want to spoil it. ::grin:: A great book that has, IMO, stood the test of time. It was fun to read aloud, too. I can't help it - I just love doing voices. And Connor enjoyed it so much that he's asked to read it again - so we started from the beginning last night. (PC)

#72 -
An Ancient Evil - P.C. Doherty

A "vampire" story, as told by the knight from the Canterbury Tales. A clever premise, but I found the book itself somewhat dull. I did enjoy the historical aspect of it, and thought it had a good medieval feeling to it, but I found myself skimming through because I wanted to know how it ended, but wasn't all that interested in how it got there. I did learn some things - the author uses a lot of archaic terms that I wasn't sure about, so I kept Googling things to find out the meanings. The ending, though, was pretty cool, and after I'd finished, I felt as thought I did enjoy the book, even though the actual reading of it wasn't all that thrilling. I'm not sure this makes any sense. I can't say I'd recommend it, but I am satisfied to have read it. (Library)

#73 -
The Lady and the Unicorn - Tracy Chevalier

I really enjoyed this novel in which the author constructs a "history" of the creation of the Unicorn tapestries which now hang in the Musee National de Moyen Age (formerly the Cluny) in Paris. I was interested in reading this book because I saw the tapestries a couple of years ago (they are gorgeous), and was intrigued by their history, or rather, the fact that very little is known about their history. It is known that they were commissioned by a member of the la Liste (or la Viste) family sometime in the late 15th/early 16th century, but beyond that, both the story behind their creation as well as an explanation for many of the allegorical elements contained within are mysteries. I thought Chevalier did a fine job of creating a credible and interesting history which follows the tapestries through their commission, cartoon, weaving, and finally hanging, as told by various people associated with the project. After finishing the book, I had fun going back and reviewing the information I'd picked up at the museum, and enjoyed how she took the few things that are known for certain, and "wove" (har har) them together with her own speculations to create a lovely story. Really well done. I must admit to being a bit envious of Ms. Chevalier - I wish I had the imagination to create stories like this. Plus, she lives in Britain, which (speaking as a former expat) is definitely covet-worthy. ::grin:: (Library)
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