A Few Good Books

8 11 2007

I realized I’m behind on my book reviews.

I’ve been reading a lot of Alistair MacLean lately.  I picked up The Guns of Navarone, which was incredibly, unbelievably good.  I’ve done enough rock climbing to make the cliff ascent stomach-wrenchingly terrifying.  Then I read Ice Station Zebra, another winner.  I’m currently reading that one out loud to Neal & the older kids.  Even Brenna is enthralled- the first book she’s enjoyed that didn’t have a girl for a heroine.   I read Where Eagles Dare and IMMEDIATELY started reading it again, which I have never done before in my life.  It was even better the second time through.
        Athabasca was good, Floodgate was not so good, but still readable.  I’ll probably start Bear Island tonight.

        I took a break from MacLean to read a Bethany House book called Mozart’s Sister by Nancy Moser.  As far as I’m concerned she should have saved her time and taken up cross stitch.  It’s about, oddly enough, Mozart’s sister Nannerl.  She was discriminated against because of her sex, her talent was squashed, she was dominated by her father, ignored, used, forced to marry the wrong man, etc.  As Donal would say, “Blah, blah blah blah, blah.”  If I wanted to listen to somebody whining I wouldn’t need to read a book.

        On much the same note, I picked up Too Good To Be True by Sheila O’Flanagan at the library last night.  I read the first four chapters, which were charming up until the ex-girlfriend smooches the hero at their wedding party and the new wife flings a shoe at his head.  Then I skimmed.  More angst.  Skip a few more- more whining.  Engaged to a schmuck.  Back with evil ex-girl friend who wears sticky red lipstick… I did finally read the last chapter where they got back together, but the rest of it was grungy.  The only good parts were where she described her job as an air-traffic controller.  Oh- and too much detail on the bedroom scenes. 

 On the other hand, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgreen is too much fun to resist.  I loved this book when I was a kid, and I love it still.  I checked it out for Donal recently, and although we agree that we don’t like a couple of the mythical animals (nasty harpies, for example) the book is great.  Astrid Lindgreen, in case you’re not brushed up on your children’s literature, wrote the Pippi Longstocking books.  But trust me, this one is much MUCH better!

I’ve also been re-reading Andrew M. Greeley’s O’Malley chronicles A Midwinter’s Tale and Younger Than Springtime.  Father Greeley is a Catholic priest and a professor of sociology at University of Chicago.  Despite that, I find a lot of his books a bit too racy for me- I frequently find I have to skip bits.  On the plus side, his characters never commit fornication- all lust is quickly legitimatized into hasty marriages.  On the down side, I sometimes ask myself, why am I reading this exactly?  Are we advancing the plot here?  Having said that, I totally love the last three books of this series (I can take or leave Summer at the Lake– mostly leave.)  But I am in love with humorous, outrageous, modest, heroic Chucky O’Malley.  And perhaps I like the books because I see myself in the desperately wounded but eternally innocent Rosemarie.  Christian readers be warned: in the first book Chucky has an affair with a former Hitler Youth maiden he rescues, and there are plenty of pretty muscular innuendos and descriptions scattered throughout the series.  I think my mom & sister might like it, though. 

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