Category: Book Blog Posts

The Commandments by Óskar Guðmundsson

The Commandments by Óskar Guðmundsson

The Commandments by Óskar Guðmundsson
Translated by Quentin Bates | Published by Corylus Books

Picture

I’ve been a Nordic Noir fan since the early 1990s, when I read “Smilla’s Sense of Snow”, by Peter Høeg, and the Martin Beck mystery series by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. However, it wasn’t until the success of the Lisbeth Salander “Dragon Tattoo” trilogy by Stieg Larsson (2005) that mysteries from Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland began to be widely translated and published in the US. What draws me to the genre? I think it’s for the same reason I have such an unquenchable passion for polar history and exploration: Harsh surroundings and the knowledge that environment is as important as plot. Spare, beautiful prose. Words like forbidding, suspenseful, threatening, cold, bleak. Most of all, the character development that continues from book to book, as many of them are series.

So, every time I come across a new Nordic mystery I know I’ll be reading it. When Ewa Sherman reached out to ask if I would like to review Óskar Guðmundsson’s “The Commandments” I jumped at the chance and I was not disappointed; it is a welcome addition to the genre. Many of these books feature strong, intelligent and capable women and the protagonist Salka Steinsdóttir is no exception.


Author Óskar Guðmundsson

The book begins with a chapter set in 1995, and offers disturbing hints of what’s to come:

Once they had made plain their heathen tendencies, Helgi
had asked the pair of them to stay behind after the lesson.
That was when it had all started.
First sweets. Then money. Finally, there had been booze.
Everything changed.

The next chapter resumes in 2014. Salka Steinsdóttir is a former police officer who we meet fly fishing in the Lax River in northern Iceland. Her life is complicated; she is separated from her husband and her father is very ill. While on the river she meets an intriguing stranger who plays a part in what’s to come.

The story unfolds slowly but inexorably. Horrible abuse has taken place but who were the perpetrators and why have they gone unpunished for so long? When a body is found in a local church, the police reach out to Steinsdóttir for assistance. She is reluctant to be drawn back into her former world until they tell her that the man who was murdered was part of one of her investigations four years earlier.

That’s right. We investigated accusations against him
and other priests. We were never able to reach a conclusion.
That’s the worst of dealing with these cases. You have all the
victims’ narratives and you can put your finger on what’s
right and just. At the same time, you have the feeling that it’ll
all come to nothing, as happened with this case. The whole
thing was dismissed.’

And thus, Steinsdóttir finds herself in the throes of an intensely emotional and challenging case.

Guðmundsson writes about the horrific abuse in a sensitive and empathetic way. He thoughtfully creates the lives and of the victims and the damage they suffered as children that carried into their adult lives. Steinsdóttir has to confront reluctant witnesses, outright obstruction, and the difficulty of probing at memories the people she talks to would prefer to forget. I loved her character; here is a description of her during questioning of a witness:

During such interrogations, Salka liked to step back in
time, trying to work out how life had been for these people
before everything collapsed around them. At some point
this young woman had been the apple of her parents’ eye.
Somewhere behind the taut features hid a pleasant woman
with happy eyes. But now they were completely blank.

With each witness, each piece of evidence, and the gradual uncovering of the past, Steinsdóttir grows closer to a solution of the case…but not necessarily a resolution. Guðmundsson’s spare, unaffected prose is one of the main reasons I loved this book, and why Icelandic mysteries in particular call to me so strongly. The subject matter of the book is handled with a masterly touch and a deep understanding of how strongly evil deeds live long after they are committed. As with all great mystery books, the ending is both unexpected and yet, inevitable.

I highly recommend this book not just for Nordic mystery fans, but anyone who loves mysteries and great writing. I can’t wait to read more of Guðmundsson; more about him can be found at his website.

Please buy/order this book at your local independent bookstore! To find yours, visit Indiebound in the US or Indie Bookshops in the UK/Ireland.

The Commandments was first published in English in the United Kingdom in 2021 by Corylus Books Ltd, and was originally published in Icelandic as Boðorðin in 2019 by Bjartur.
Copyright © Óskar Guðmundsson, 2019
Translation copyright © Quentin Bates, 2021

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What Are You in the Mood For? Part Two

What Are You in the Mood For? Part Two

Like so many people, I’ve read a lot of books during the pandemic. Since I only post about books I liked/loved/lost it over, I decided to create a post that makes recommendations to match your current mood with the proper book. As always, please buy/order your books from an independent bookstore! Check for yours at:

If you want to read…


……about the often dangerous and always fascinating history of fashion, and the lengths people will go to in order to look beautiful.

Fashion Victims : The Dangers of Dress Past and Present—Alison Matthews David:

A philosophical novel that follows the paths of three men, in three different periods of history, (the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Black Death, and the Second World War) linked by the same book. Unlike anything I’ve read before.

The Dream of Scipio—Iain Pears (also An Instance of the Fingerpost):

…Gripping medical history; the real story behind the discovery and use of penicillin.

The Mold in Dr. Florey’s Coat—Eric Lax:

…two startling and somewhat interconnected novels by a master storyteller. Station Eleven is a novel that miraculously reads like equal parts page-turner and poem. The Glass Hotel is a ghost story that’s also about white collar crime and container shipping. I recommend reading in order.

Station 11/The Glass Hotel—Emily St. John Mandel:

...a great American novel about a real reform school that operated for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children. A Whitehead classic and Pulitzer Prize winner.

The Nickel Boys—Colson Whitehead

…Poetic fantasy fiction with stunning visual imagery and complex characters. If you liked The Night Circus…

The Starless Sea—Erin Morgenstern

…a brutal, bitter, comical, brilliant look at England through a broken mirror; NOT for the faint of heart.

Endland—Tim Etchells

…Nordic Noir from a Swedish author, with a twist that her protagonist is not a policeman, but a tax lawyer (a profession the author shares). Part of a series, click here to see them in order.

The Blood Spilt—Âsa Larsson


Thus endeth Part Two of the “What are You in the Mood For? posts. Hope you enjoyed, and found some books to match your mood!

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What Are You in the Mood For? Part One

What Are You in the Mood For? Part One

Like so many people, I’ve read a lot of books during the pandemic. Since I only post about books I liked/loved/lost it over, I decided to create a post that makes recommendations to match your current mood with the proper book.

As always, please buy/order your books from an independent bookstore! Check for yours at:

Indiebound
Indie Bookshops UK
Indie Bookshops Europe
Indie Bookshops Australia
Libro.fm (audiobooks)

If you want to read…


…an insighful, poignant “autobiographical” novel about the real-life Alva Vanderbilt; prominent multi-millionaire American socialite and a major figure in the American women’s suffrage movement.

A Well Behaved Woman—Therese Anne Fowler

Nordic noir at its finest (part of a series that I recommend reading in order as the characters and plots intertwine). This is the most recent book in the series.

Lazarus—Lars Kepler:

…a gripping four book series ostensibly about two Neapolitan girls who grow up together. The astonishing writing transcends the plot to cover love, violence, loyalty, marriage, parenthood, rebellion, politics, family… If I sound like I’m waxing lyrical, I am.

My Brilliant Friend Quartet—Elena Ferrante:

…a book of simple, beautiful prose (part of a series and with characters from other Backman books) that revolves around hockey but is really a rich, insightful study of the people who live in this small town.

Us Against You—Frederik Backman

...Marconi! A notorious murderer! The invention of the telegraph! Crime investigation innovations! Need I say more-it’s Erik Larson.

Thunderstruck—Erik Larson

…a work of historical fiction so gripping that it’s un-putdownable. A group of women on a very dangerous Arctic journey; fits right into that sweet spot of mystery, thriller and intense character study.

The Arctic Fury—Greer MacAllister

…one of Kate Atkinson’s clever Jackson Brodie mysteries; one should always be in the mood for these fantastic books!

Started Early, Took My Dog—Kate Atkinson

…Nordic noir from Iceland; Books 1 and 2 of the fantastic Forbidden Iceland series.

The Creak on the Stairs/Girls Who Lie—Eva Björg Ægisdottir

…brilliant historical fiction about Shakepeare’s son; so little is known about the lives of the father or the son that O’Farrell’s imagination really shines through.

Hamnet-Maggie O’Farrell

…a book that bears some similarities to The Orchid Thief, but with a very different focus and background; natural history and a daring heist.

The Feather Thief-Kirk Wallace Johnson

…a brutally honest and well-written account about running the Iditarod and the musher life in general. On Twitter, if you follow #mushertwitter or #uglydogs, this is the book for you!

Winterdance-Gary Paulsen

…a quintessential Amisosity, Amisless, Amisesque novel/bio/essay/WTF kind of a book.

Inside Story—Martin Amis


Thus endeth Part One of the “What are You in the Mood For? posts. Part Two will cover fantasy, fashion and more…

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Book Bits Oct. 14, 2020

Book Bits Oct. 14, 2020

Book news and events from across the bibliosphere!

A Cappella Books, Atlanta

Steve Madden, “The Cobbler: How I Disrupted an Industry, Fell from Grace, and Came Back Stronger Than Ever” in conversation with Holly Firfer, CNN Journalist . Click here for tickets; ticket options include a copy of the book.

Atlanta Writer’s Club

Weekly Contest: I’m a former winner of this contest, and what a great prize; the winner will receive a one-year extension to their membership! The deadline for this week’s contest is Friday, October 16th at noon Eastern, and the word to use in a submission of 50 words or less is “dream.” Atlanta Writers Club members are invited to send your submission with “Weekly Contest” in the subject line to Clay Ramsey, Officer Emeritus and VP of Contests, Awards, & Scholarships, at chramse@gmail.com. To join the AWC or renew your membership, please use the link here for online and mail-in options: https://atlantawritersclub.org/membership-donation/

For information about the upcoming virtual Atlanta Writer’s Conference, click here.

Lit Hub Weekly

From this week’s issue of LitHub: ““It’s not laziness, but criminal, to feign ignorance of the havoc we have wrought on the world.” Fatima Bhutto chronicles this world on fire. | Lit Hub Politics

“Prince always accepted what was coming, and was trying to prepare, he told me as far back as 1985.” Neal Karlen on his complicated relationship with an American icon. | Lit Hub Biography

“It seemed to be extremely unlikely that I would ever have this particular event to deal with in my life.” Louise Glück on winning the Nobel Prize in Literature. | The New York Times

Andri Snær Magnason: It will never be too late to mourn the slow loss of glaciers. | Words Without Borders

From Lit Hub’s Bookmarks Bulletin:

In literary land this week: American poet Louise Glück won the 2020 Nobel Prize for literature, Fox News is getting its own imprint at HarperCollins (?!), the staff of The New Yorker is celebrating a well-earned union victory, this year’s MacArthur fellows include six literary writers, and there’s a new Ethan Hawke novel on the horizon.

Here at Book Marks, we got some rapid-fire book recs from Douglas Stuart and Karen Russell, and talked books about the civilian experience of war with Phil Klay.

We hope you’re all keeping healthy and sane, and supporting your local independent bookstores in any way you can. Click on the image below to find your local independent bookstore in the US.

Featured Bookstores of the Week:

Jarndyce Books: Leading specialists in 18th and, particularly, 19th century English Literature & History. Our shop, opposite the British Museum, is open between 11 & 5.30. @JarndyceBooks on Twitter.

Coachouse Books: Coach House Books is an independent Canadian publisher of poetry, fiction, drama & nonfiction. Good on paper since 1965. @coachhousebooks on Twitter.

Drama Book Shop: 2011 Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre. Since 1917, the greatest theatre and film bookshop in the world. Re-opening Spring 2020! @dramabookshop on Twitter.

Port Book and News Shop: Locally owned indie bookshop serving the Olympic Peninsula for over 35 years. Come for the books, stay for the community and conversation! Open 7 days/week. @portbookandnews on Twitter.

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The Blue Notebook of a Thousand Titles

The Blue Notebook of a Thousand Titles

In 1996, I began writing down the titles of books I was interested in reading. I bought a beautiful small notebook and began a practice I continued until very recently. I read about most of the books in the NYT Book Review, which I subscribed to for over 20 years. I eventually cancelled my subscription due to non-book related issues, and began tracking the books on my Mac. However, the notebook is a great time capsule of my long history as a bookworm (which preceded 1996 by a long shot!).

I started digitizing the notebook this weekend; here is the very first page:

The books crossed out are the ones I ending up buying. I had to carry this with me to bookstores because often, I would buy a book I already had. I’m sure I’m not the only one!

I really got going on page 2 forward as far as the percentage of books listed vs. books bought:

Just because I didn’t cross a book out doesn’t mean I decided not to buy it; as long as it’s in print or I can find it used, it’s always on the “to be read” list.

AN URGENT PLEA: Please buy or order any books that catch your eye at your local independent bookstore. For physical books from US indies, check Indiebound. For audiobooks, check libro.fm. In the UK and Ireland, check Booksellers Association.

Although my reading tastes are pretty eclectic, there are some genres and topics that always catch my eye:

  • British and Scandinavian/Nordic mysteries
  • Polar history and exploration, both Arctic and Antarctic
  • Travel, mountain climbing and other types of non-fiction adventure
  • Books about books, libraries, museums, booksellers, bookstores and bibliomaniacs
  • Popular science
  • Disasters such as shipwrecks, hurricanes, pandemics
  • History and historical fiction

There are also many authors whose books I will always buy because I already know how much I love their writing; in the interests of space I’ve only included a few, followed by their Twitter handles if they have an account:

  • Simon Winchester @simonwwriter
  • Oliver Sacks @OliverSacks (now the account of the Oliver Sacks Foundation)
  • Jennifer Egan @egangoonsquad
  • Hilary Mantel @hilarymantel (she does not tweet)
  • Steve Silberman @stevesilberman
  • Erik Larson @exlarson
  • Bill Bryson @billbrysonn
  • Bill Hayes @BillHayesNYC
  • Stephen King and his son, Joe Hill @stepheking and @joe_hill
  • Erin Morgenstern @erinmorgensterm
  • Sebastian Junger @sebastianjunger
  • Susan Orlean @susanorlean
  • Lisa See @lisa_see

I also have a large collection of Scandinavian/Nordic mysteries; I can recommend any book by any of these authors. Please note that most of these books are best read chronologically, since the characters and some personal details persist and grow from book to book.

  • Maj Sjöwall/Per Wahlöö
  • Henning Mankell
  • Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
  • Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnete Friis
  • Jo Nesbo
  • Karin Fossum
  • Håkan Nesser
  • Quentin Bates (also an excellent translator)
  • Lars Kepler
  • Niklas Natt Och Dag
  • Jussi Adler-Olsen
  • Arnaldur Indriðason
  • Kjell Eriksson
  • Kristina Ohlsson
  • Anne Holt
  • Ragnar Jónasson
  • Asa Larsson
  • Sofie Sarenbrant
  • Janwillem van de Vetering (cheating in the category here; he is Dutch and the books take place in Amsterdam.)

The following images go up to page 10 in my notebook so there will be several future posts about the rest. Do we share any book interests? If so, please let me know on Twitter at @angryalgonquin!

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Writing Contest Win!

Writing Contest Win!

I’m so grateful to the Atlanta Writers Club for selecting me as this week’s “Weekly Writing Contest” winner!

For our latest weekly writing contest, with “seashore” as the magic word, the judges selected AWC member Abbe Wiesenthal‘s submission, which was as follows:   

ATL Writer’s Club Newsletter, July 2020

I used to sell shells there
But twisted tongues and barren beaches
Swept away my customers
Like sandcastles in a high tide.
Who am I now,
The woman with the empty bucket,
Walking along the seashore,
Searching for slippery shrimp,
And saying it, three times, very fast.   

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Reading As an Escape from Social Distancing

Reading As an Escape from Social Distancing

Since I left my job almost a year ago, and much more so during the last couple of months of social isolation, I’ve had a lot more time to read during unfortunate circumstances. It’s an escape, a solace, a welcome distraction—as it has been throughout my life.

To support the many wonderful independent bookstores struggling to get by (particularly, but not only, in Atlanta and Athens) I have amassed a “to be read” inventory that is going to last me a very long time! The shelf pics below do not include all books purchased since the coronavirus; only the ones I have not yet read, with one exception: I have started Gore Vidal’s “Burr”, seen below in the picture on the right.

This is my second time reading “Burr”; I was inspired to do so by seeing “Hamilton” in NY during better times. Although it’s a work of historical fiction, Vidal did his homework and it’s great to hear the story of those years from Burr’s point of view as narrated by Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler, who works for him as a law clerk. I especially loved the parts told by Burr in the first person, as Schuyler “transcribes” them for his own story about Burr.


In this post I review some of the books I’ve read and thankfully, moved from my “tbr” shelf to their proper place in the library; the unread books are on the shelves closest to the window:


In Berkeley, CA? Visit Sleepy Cat Books!
Follow them on twitter: @SleepyCatBooks
Email them at
sleepycatbooks@gmail.com


The Magician’s Assistant—Ann Patchett

I’d like to start out with “The Magician’s Assistant” by Ann Patchett. I’ve been enchanted by Patchett’s work since I read “Bel Canto”, and this book is no less gripping.

Sabine had been assistant to L.A. magician Parsifal for 22 years when they finally married. She knew he was homosexual; both had mourned the death of his gentle Vietnamese lover, Phan. What she didn’t know until Parsifal’s sudden death only a short time later was that Parsifal’s real name was Guy Fetters, that had he lied when he claimed to have no living relatives and that he has a mother and two sisters in Alliance, Neb.

Publishers Weekly

As events unfold, what I thought the book would be about changes dramatically to another type of story that is in turn gut-wrenching, poignant, sharply observational and ultimately redemptive. If you’ve never read Patchett, this would be a great book to start with.



In Kona, HI? Visit Kona Bay Books
Follow them on twitter: @BooksKona
Email them at
info@konabaybooks.com


Bloody Murder-From the Detective Story to the Crime Novel: A History—Julian Symons

I’m a lifelong mystery buff, so I was pretty excited when I found this book. Published in 1972, Symons traces the history of the genre; I understand there have been several revised versions but I believe this is an unrevised edition. In addition to the historical aspect of the book, Symons offers his unvarnished opinions of many famous, and some obscure, mystery and detective fiction authors. I can’t say I agreed with all of his assessments, but the book is intermittently fascinating for fans of mystery/detective writing. (I have to admit that since I am unfamiliar with many of the early European authors of this genre, the book was a little dry for me in places. It’s hard to relate to a critique of an author whose name and books you’ve never heard of).



In Savannah, GA? Visit The Book Lady Bookstore!
Follow them on twitter: @bookladybkstore

Email them at books@thebookladybookstore.com


Treachery at Sharpnose Point—Jeremy Seal

Frankly, this book was quite a letdown. I’m an avid fan of shipwreck/disaster/maritime histories, which is why this title caught my eye. However, the author having failed to find any evidence of his theories regarding the “treachery”, resorts to detailing his (mostly unsuccessful) research efforts for about a third of the book. Another third is pure conjectural fiction about personalities and dialogue aboard the ship prior to the shipwreck. The remaining third is not uninteresting, but contrary to the subtitle, no mysteries were “unraveled”. I just can’t recommend it.



In Louisville, KY? Visit Carmichael’s Bookstore!
Follow them on twitter:
@carmichaelsbook
Email them at info@carmichaelsbookstore.com


The Diary of a Bookseller—Shaun Bythell

This book was a sheer pleasure from beginning to end. Let’s just say that I have many of the qualities of, and enjoy the company of, curmudgeons. I married one. The dictionary definition of this word is “a crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old man.”. I consider this to be a vicious libel! Curmudgeons are DELIGHTFUL IF they also possess a dry and wicked sense of humor, and Mr. Bythell has this in spades. His piercing and witty observations about running a bookstore and dealing with the general public are just delightful, and when, not if, I visit Wigtown I will certainly pay hommage.



In Wigtown, Scotland? Visit Wigtown Bookshop!
Follow them on twitter:
@WigtownBookShop
Email them at mail@the-bookshop.com


The Dream of Scipio—Iain Pears

I first read Iain Pears in 1997, when “The Instance of the Fingerpost” was published. Although I very much enjoyed it, I did not catch up with a Pears book again until this year, when I found “The Dream of Scipio” at Normal Books in Athens, GA. The book goes back and forth in time between three narratives, set in the fifth, fourteenth, and twentieth centuries, all revolving around an ancient text and each with a love story at its center. Although the novel has a complex structure, it is so ingeniously crafted that it is a delight to read. I love this quote from Kirkus Reviews:

This imposingly intricate novel begins slowly, makes heavy demands on the reader, and rises to a stunningly dramatic crescendo. Pears has leapt to a new level, creating a novel of ideas even more suspenseful and revelatory than his justly acclaimed mysteries.



In Sidmouth, UK? Visit Winstone Books!
Follow them on twitter:
@winstoneSid
Email them at winstonebooks1@gmail.com


Gutenberg’s Apprentice—Alix Christie

Marvelous example of how good historical fiction can be when the author combines impeccable research and knowledge with great writing. Told from the point of view of the real-life apprentice, Peter Schoeffer, the novel’s story begins with a frame narrative that follows the deaths of both Johanns: Gutenberg himself and Johann Fust, Gutenberg’s partner and financier, and Shoeffer’s foster father. Unwillingly apprenticed to Gutenberg, Peter is torn between the loving labor of script and the mechanical allure of print.

The real hero of “Gutenberg’s Apprentice” is the press itself, this horrifying, beautiful machine capable of throwing out “a boundless net of shining letters.” Near the middle of Christie’s novel, Gutenberg and Fust hit on the momentous idea of printing the Latin Bible in its entirety. As Peter prepares the initial type, he summons those “words that brought a new world into being,” the opening verse of Genesis: “Peter set them flush against a nothingness; hard against a nonexistent margin he arranged them, floating like the world itself in the great void.”

It’s a beautiful image, rendering the printing press as a medium of ethereal transcendence that depends, nevertheless, on those gnarly chunks of metal poured and etched in the workshop over months and years of sweaty toil.

Bruce Holsinger, Washington Post, 12/12/14

FIN Part One

In future posts, I will discuss more of the books I’ve read so far this year, and as always, highlight some of the great independent bookstores around the world.

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Reading as an Escape from Reality

Reading as an Escape from Reality

I’ve been very negligent about new posts; what does a blog count for among millions of others at this time? But I know from those I follow, and those who follow me on twitter, that reading can be a comfort, a distraction, and an escape from the a world that seems to be irrevocably changing while we sit inside and hope for better times. I do what I can to support the independent bookstores and other local small businesses that I love and hope that they make it through this intact.

As for me, I’m well aware that socially isolating, sitting inside, and reading is an indescribable luxury. There are no words sufficient, no reward great enough, for the people who keep our lifelines going while putting their own lives at risk for low pay and long hours. Our health workers on the front lines, along with policemen, firemen and others who help to keep us safe. The people who keep the supplies moving and those who come in at risk and little reward to sell them to us. The teachers and librarians who labor to continue delivering words of wisdom to us and our children virtually while coping with their own personal struggles.

I thank you all, I salute you, I wish you all well, and most of all, I hope that the world remembers all of your efforts when this passes. Not just with words of thanks, but with better working conditions, higher pay, and comprehensive health coverage. It’s something we should ALL be working for because it’s the right thing to do and long overdue.

OK thereby ends my homily. My reading escapes in the past month:

The Mirror & the Light—Hilary Mantel

By happenstance, I had pre-purchased a special UK edition of this book earlier this year, and it arrived about a month ago. I started it immediately.

UK Edition

I have read reviews criticizing the book as “overly long” or “padded”; I could not disagree more! The closer I got to the end, the longer I wished the book were. I think it was a magnificent conclusion to the Cromwell trilogy. As soon as it was over I wanted to start all over agin with “Wolf Hall”, but I can’t find it on my shelves; there is an open slot to the left of “Bring Up the Bodies” that I can’t account for.

Wolf Hall Mystery: Unsolved

Did I Iend it to someone or leave it on a trip? No matter; it gives me a good excuse to support a local indie by re-purchasing it.

A Cappella Books, Atlanta, GA
Open for online orders only.
Follow @acappellabooks on Twitter
Follow @acappellabooks on Instagram

The Magician’s Assistant—Anne Patchett

This book started out with a story that I thought would be the focus of the entirety and then shifted in a way I didn’t expect. I love Patchett’s writing style and loved this book as much as “Bel Canto” (which I also highly recommend).

Paperback edition

Characters so achingly human and vulnerable caught in a world that they struggle to understand; in other words the perfect book to read during this time. I found this book at:

Normal Books, Athens, GA
normalbooks@gmail.com
(706) 850-6225
Follow them on Instagram.

Comfort Food: Final Account—Peter Robinson

When I need the distraction of reading combined with the joy of eating still-warm brownies, I turn to my vast library of British mysteries. This week’s choice is by one of my favorites, Peter Robinson. He’s an English-Canadian crime writer who is best known for his crime novels set in Yorkshire featuring Detective Alan Banks. I recommend reading them in order, since the lives of Banks, his family, his colleagues and friends continue throughout the series and undergo some significant life changes. Click here for a great list of the books in order.

Current read:

I also strongly recommend the associated TV series based on the books. DCI Banks first ran in the UK, was very well cast, and can be enjoyed without ever having read any of the books. It is available currently on streaming services.

Next Up: The Dream of Scipio—Iain Pears

This will be the first book of Pears that I’ve read since the marvelous “An Instance of the Fingerpost”. It was also purchased at Normal Books in Athens.

In Closing:

I hope that you all find the same comfort in books that I do, and I wish fervently for your well-being, health and safety, and the same for your loved ones. Read in joy and love.

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