The last ten days of 2013 have been outstanding from a reading point of view. Somehow or other, three excellent books published in 2013 dropped into my lap without any recommendation from anyone, and each has been so worthwhile!
First of all, a hearty, full-throated yahoo for Final Reckoning by Susan Moody, which I featured in a previous post. I wouldn't recommend it to someone who doesn't like a real gothic. And yet, it's true, it's a bit more than gothic because of the murder/crime-solving element. But if you ever harbored a liking for Victoria Holt or Daphne Du Maurier, you will find much, much pleasure here, I am convinced.
Robert Kolker's nonfiction book Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery is captivating and abundantly clear in the message that state and local police forces as well as the criminal justice system refuse to believe that prostitutes are anything but sub-human creatures completely unworthy of any kind of police protection afforded all other citizens. Kolker's investigative journalism covered the still unsolved case of one or more serial killers' murders of 5 prostitutes in Long Island, New York. Who cares about these women? As the investigation makes clear, no one but their relatives. Shocking. Talk about police and detective bungling. Lovers of crime fiction, take note!
And now I'm enthralled by Carrie Brown's The Last First Day about a married couple of 50 years, soul-mates, in their mid-seventies, dealing with the end of their stamina, fortitude, and livelihoods as headmaster and wife of a New England prep school. I love books that highlight characters in later life, in which the critical, heart-rending issues older adults face are presented. There are so few of these novels and they receive no notice, so I'm delighted when I stumble upon one of them. This one is so brilliantly written! Carrie Brown has won many prizes for her work, and if you like reading about people facing crises in their lives who are a bit older than you and I, do read it.
Penguin's History of the World
2 hours ago