- Jeremy N. Smith, Breaking and Entering . This tells the story of a woman, called Alien, who becomes an ethical hacker, helping companies find the vulnerabilities in their computer systems. It starts with her undergraduate career at MIT and continues through her efforts building a career and, eventually, her own business. It’s an interesting book, which might inspire some people to be more careful about their own computer use, but the technical detail is thin. I understand why the current day content used disguised names and changed places, but there isn’t really any reason for that in relation to much of the earlier incidents, e.g. the asphyxiation by laughing gas of a fellow student in the East Campus dorm. (I’ll save you the trouble of googling it – his actual name was Richard Guy. And if you google him, you will find out about the students arrested on drug charges during the investigation.)
- Christina Baker Kline, A Piece of the World. This is a fictionalized account of the story of Christina Olson, who inspired Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World. Christina’s life is constrained, both by her family and by her disability but Andy’s visits add a new dimension to it. This was a book club selection and I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. There were lots of interesting details, even as the characters often frustrated me by their resignation to their circumstances. Worth a read, even if you don’t care for Wyeth’s art.
- Michael Lewis, Moneyball. It is surprising that I had not actually read this before, as I am a fan of both Michael Lewis and of baseball. It finally filtered to the top of the unread stack. While the names have changed, the game really hasn’t and it was fun to read about players I remember and those I don’t. Still an essential read for everyone who loves the game.
- John Creasey, Leave It To the Toff. The Toff is the nickname of Richard Rollison, an upper-class sleuth. In this case, he is left an inheritance by a man he’d helped to put in jail. The other beneficiary is a beautiful American night club singer, whose life Is being threatened. There’s more action than deduction, with the assistance of several associates. Frankly, I didn’t find this particularly interesting as mysteries go. Mostly, the characters didn’t behave in realistic ways. I was left without any desire to read more of Creasey’s numerous books.
- Christopher Moore, You Suck. Moore is primarily a humor writer, with a flair for the fantastic. This is a sequel to his novel Bloodsucking Fiends and involves love among vampires in San Francisco. It’s pretty silly, but in an entertaining way. Recommended.
- Marion Keyes, The Brightest Star in the Sky. This novel involves the lives of several people living at 66 Star Street. The characters are pretty interesting. My favorite was Lydia, the cabbie whose lists of dislikes are especially entertaining. The elderly Jemima, who works as a phone psychic, is also wonderful. This isn’t all sweetness and light by any means, but there are satisfying resolutions to the traumas of life. Keyes is one of the better writers of chick lit out there and this is a fine example.
- Anna Solomon, Leaving Lucy Pear. This was another book club selection, involving a rich woman who has a child out of wedlock and leaves it in the pear orchard so it will be taken bye family who steal the pears. The mother in that family is having an affair with a man running for mayor, who arranges for her to work for the rich woman’s uncle. While there are episodes of domestic abuse and sexual violence, it doesn’t really feel like much happens and, frankly, I didn’t find this book very interesting.
- Maisie Mosco,, Between Two Worlds. This novel tells the story of Alison Plantaine, a young woman in a theatrical family who learns her father’s great secret and gets involved with his Jewish family. She’s eventually forced to choose between her career ambitions and a man she becomes involved in. There’s nothing particularly unusual or unpredictable here, but it’s still a decent escapist read. It’s the first book in a trilogy and, since it was from my mother’s library, I may also have the other two in my overflowing stash.
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