Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bookishness

I seem to have gotten my grove back and have gotten some reading in. I've finished two books, and am two thirds of the way through another. I also have some nice new additions to the library I hope to share later this week.

Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear is the fourth novel featuring detective Maisie Dobbs. I came to this series late, and have been hanging on to the fourth and fifth installments. I don't read many mysteries so when I'm in the mood these fit the bill. I keep saying and I'll say it again - the first book in the series is still my favorite. I loved getting to know Maisie and her history and it did not feel like a traditional mystery book. This book, however, is very much about the case at hand and I missed reading about Maisie's life outside of work. Not that there is ever much of that, but even less here. Maisie seemed a bit lonely to me in this book. Billy was not around as much due to family, and it just seemed as though Maisie was alone quite a bit and there was a slight air of melancholy. I was feeling as though I wished Maisie had a girlfriend nearby to relax with. I found this to be an entertaining read, and made me wonder what Winspear would do with Maisie next.

The second book I finished was A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I was not a big fan of The Kite Runner, but the subject of this book - women - intrigued me, and I would have read it even if I were not discussing it with my book club later this month. I found this to be a completely engrossing book. I think it was Karen who wrote recently about books that you read without looking at page numbers or clocks - this was one of those for me. I almost couldn't sleep one night I was so wrapped up in it.

I really did not read any detailed reviews or descriptions of this novel before I read it. I am glad that I went into it without any expectations. I will say only that the novel takes place in Afghanistan from 1959 to 2003 and is about two women whose lives intersect. There is great sorrow and a bit a joy. It is shocking to read about life in Afghanistan - public life, life during the war, and life within the home. Shocking to read this account of repression and life's hardships. I felt Hosseini did a wonderful job of writing from a woman's point of view. If you want to read a happy book, this isn't it. But it is an important and eye-opening book and happens to be a page-turner as well. Highly recommended.

9 comments:

Wendy said...

Tara: I also loved A Thousand Splendid Suns (and also liked it better than The Kite Runner). A powerful must read! Here is my review if you're interested.

Maw Books said...

I loved A Thousand Splendid Suns! It was great! So glad that you liked it as well.

Tara said...

Wendy, thanks for pointing me towards your wonderful review. I'm so glad I read this one.

Natasha, glad to hear it!

Danielle said...

I love those sorts of books that you can loose yourself in without counting pages! Sometimes I find myself drifting to other thoughts when I'm reading, which I hate. I like to be totally wrapped up in the story. I've not yet read any of Hosseini's novels--I'll have to keep this in mind.

Lisa said...

I haven't read any of the Maisie Dobbs books, yet. I'm afraid to get into another series, especially if I don't start with the first book as soon as it comes out. I get overload anxiety when the books come out faster than I can read them. I have A Thousand Splendid Suns but haven't gotten around to it, yet. I did like Kite Runner, but expect that I'll like this one better since it focuses on the lives of women. Glad you've got your reading groove back!

Becca said...

I loved Kite Runner so much I was afraid to read A Thousand Splendid Suns (also because I was afraid of the pain and sorrow) but now ... after this excellent review ... I will.

Pink Lady Bug said...

I love the Maisie Dobbs books. I have read all of them up to Messenger of Truth.

Wasn't too keen on The Kite Runner, and that put me off reading A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Sarah

Iliana said...

I think the fourth book has been my least favorite Maisie Dobbs book. It wasn't bad but I was upset by some things... The fifth book is great though. This is definitely one of my favorite series and characters.

Tara said...

Danielle, me too, me too, me too! Do keep this one in mind, it was a great read.

Lisa, I don't read many series, so it was okay for me to start on this one. I was definitely more interested in this one (compared to The Kite Runner) due to the fact that it is about women. I'm glad too, about my groove!

Becca, thank you for your kind words. I hope you find this to be a good read, despite the sadness in the story.

Pink Lady Bug, I'm not sure why I wasn't put off by the fact that I wasn't crazy about TKR -normally I might be. In any case, I'm glad I tried this author again.

Iliana, that is exactly how I'm feeling about the fourth book and I'm wondering exactly what you were upset by! Glad to hear it about the fifth book - and thank you again for sending me your copy!