I've been in a reading slump here. I've begun four different books - one started well and though I lost interest I'm continuing with it, another from the library will go back after about 10 pages, two more that I tried and couldn't get on with. I don't know what it was, but finally I decided that perhaps I had too much on my mind to read fiction - which has happened to me in the past - does it ever happen to you? And I needed some nonfiction. Well, was I ever right, because I chose something I should have read years ago and is absolutely blowing my mind. More to come on that, but here are a few books I read before my slump:
Mothernight by Sarah Stovell - I knew I had to read this after Elaine and Karen's reviews a while back. The Book Depository finally had a copy and it became mine. Leila is seventeen years old and is returning to her father and stepmother's home for the first time since childhood. Leila was effectively banished after a terrible tragedy involving her infant brother. Leila returns home with Olivia, a boarding school friend with whom she has an intense relationship, and comes back in contact with Rosie, a childhood friend with whom she had a disturbing and uneven friendship with. Despite the setting of this novel, under the hot summer sun, I found this book to be wonderfully creepy, cold and disturbing. I loved reading the different character's points of view and how they manipulated one another. The tension in the story builds and secrets are uncovered slowly and carefully by the author. A terribly entertaining book and terrific cover as well.
The Dark Lantern by Gerri Brightwell - I had been interested in this book since I'd been browsing at Barnes and Noble, but when Danielle reviewed it I knew it was a must-read. This book is full of all the ingredients that make a great read for me: the upstairs/downstairs servant issues, filthy, foggy Victorian London, a host of people who are not what they seem, and a little bit of history, in this case, the study of anthropometry, the science of identifying criminals by body measurements. I enjoyed learning about anthropometry and its comparison with fingerprinting. The supporters argued that it was too difficult to catalog all the fingerprints and much easier to look up things by precise measurement.
Jane Wilbred takes a position as a maid in the Bentley's home and is soon swept up in the unusual goings-on of the household. Her mistress, who would rather her own secrets not be found out, uses Jane as a spy and sends her on mysterious errands. Jane cannot tell who can trust and who she cannot - it seems at times there is no one. This was another entertaining book with a satisfying conclusion.
Something I've been thinking about for a while is putting together a cookbook for myself. Besides my cookbooks, I have lots of pages of recipes that I use regularly and that float around my kitchen trying to get lost. I had thought about using Tastebook, but I'd have to type out all my recipes and what if I made a mistake? Now I'm thinking about buying a pretty binder and plastic page protectors and setting a book up this way. Any better ideas? Just cataloging them on the computer is not going to work because the computer is not in the kitchen and I need a hard copy.