Monthly Archives: October 2012

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

The End of Your Life Book Club is simply a gem.  It is a book that will find you, and inspire you, regardless of your circumstances.  It is a book I want to share with everyone with whom I talk books! 

A beautiful tribute to his mother by publisher and editor Will Schwalbe, The End of Your Life Book Club opens with Schwalbe’s mother’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis.  As the author accompanies his mother to various appointments, and as they share the gift of presence, they share books.  They read, they discuss, they recommend as they journey through her illness.  What Mrs. Schwalbe values -the wisdom this book is about sharing–is often relayed in the context of a book.  While discussing A Thousand Splendid Suns, they talk about decision making:  “When you couldn’t decide between two things, she suggested you choose the one that allowed you to change course if necessary.  Not the road less traveled but the road with the exit ramp.”  During the chapter on Continental Drift, there is a wonderful story told “when I needed to remind myself that good news and bad news are often relative to your expectations, not anything absolute.” 

Mary Anne Schwalbe is a remarkable woman, mother, humanitarian.  The books they read (conveniently listed in the appendix) are such a mix.  I have read several, and now will read several more, but having read or not read doesn’t impact the experience of this book.  This is well written and moving, and so very worth the read!

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Say You’re Sorry by Michael Robatham

  • Okay, this is another book that is not for the faint of heart.  There are some very disturbing aspects to this case but,  this is a great read and the graphic violence fits the story and is only a small part of the novel.  That being said, if you love gripping novels this is the one for you!  Some articles I have read have suggested that if you liked “Gone, Girl” by Gillian Flynn then you would like this book as well.  Having read both, I would caution that “Gone, Girl” did not have the graphic aspects that this book does and if you really don’t care for that type of book at all, then take a pass on this one.

There are two stories converging in this book.  Three years ago, two teenaged girls disappeared from a small English village while out at a local fair.  It was never determined whether Piper and Tash were kidnapped or ran away and after the initial media flurry the leads diminish and the case goes cold.  Fast forward three years and Joe O’Loughlin, a psychologist, is trying to rebuild his relationship with his  own teenage daughter and is attending a conference when police seek him out to help them solve a double murder that took place in the old farmhouse that Tash, one of the missing girls used to live in.  The couple killed in the house had no connection to Tash but,  it is still an eerie connection to the past unsolved case.  While police are still trying to solve this homicide another body is found frozen in a nearby pond.  Joe O’Loughlin doesn’t want to become involved with this case but cannot help trying to prevent police from rushing to the wrong conclusions.

Michael Robotham is an Australian based author of many fast paced intense thrillers including “The Wreckage”.  His Joe O’Loughlin series has four previous books in it “Suspect”, “Lost”, “Shatter”, and “Bleed for Me”.  “Say You’re Sorry” is the 5th book in the series and is written from Joe’s perspective and from Tash and Piper’s perspective.  This style effectively amps up the tension as the book races towards the conclusion.  Right from the very beginning this book will pull you in and keep you guessing.

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Past Tense by Catherine Aird

I read Catherine Aird mysteries a long time ago, so I was struck by a little nostalgia when I saw that she was releasing a new mystery  featuring Chief Inspector Sloan and Detective Constable Crosby.  I was long overdue for a good classic english police procedural not to mention a vocabulary test.  I love words and I will tell you that there were several new vocabulary words that I was not familiar with and had to look up.   Do you know that the adjective “pukka” means-genuine or of respectable society?  In any case, the book starts with one of the main characters, Jan Wakefield,  making funeral arrangements for her husband Will’s great Aunt Josephine, someone the Wakefields had no idea had been living in a nursing home near them for quite some time.  At the funeral, Jane is surprised by the appearance of Joe Short, Josephine Short’s grandson.  Joe proceeds to inform Jane, that his grandmother had been an  unmarried mother and that she had been kicked out and estranged  by her family, who also attempted  to cut her out of her share of the Kemberland Trust, when her parents died.  Now that Josephine has died,  it appears that only Joe Short and William Wakefied, Jane’s husband, are Josephine’s  surviving  relatives, with Joe, being the only beneficiary named in the will.

Initially,  there is only one small crime for  DCI Sloan and his sidekick DC Crosby to solve.  However,  it isn’t long before a much bigger crime is committed.  The first crime, an apparent ransacking of Josephine Short’s room at the nursing home,  and the second, the death of a beautiful auburn-haired woman seen by witnesses at Josephine Short’s funeral.  DCI Sloan is sure that there is a connection between the woman’s death and the break-in at the nursing home he just can’t seem to find it.  Plenty of suspects along with good writing and wonderful characters make for a cracking good read!  I figured this one out-can you?

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