Monthly Archives: December 2011

Sue Grafton, “V is for Vengeance”

I’ve always been impressed by the way Sue Grafton has been able to keep her franchise going. All right — not always, but since about 1990 when it became obvious that she was going to work her way right through … Continue reading

Posted in best seller, mystery | Tagged | 2 Comments

Ann Patchett, “Bel Canto”

The magical laundry room shelves were pushy about this. A few weeks ago I noticed a copy of Bel Canto wedged in next to an out-of-date guidebook to Denmark. With Ann Patchett’s current book getting a lot of attention, naturally … Continue reading

Posted in best seller, contemporary fiction | Tagged | 6 Comments

Elizabeth Kostova, “The Swan Thieves”

There was a lot of fuss over Elizabeth Kostova’s earlier book, The Historian, and I tried to read it but could not quite cozy up to the Dracula theme, the violence, the portentousness. The Swan Thieves, though, was a much … Continue reading

Posted in art history, contemporary fiction, historical fiction | Tagged | 4 Comments

P.D. James, “Death Comes to Pemberley”

Oh, dear. I had such high hopes for Death Comes to Pemberley. I’m not a big fan of the  mash-up and I’m traditional enough to believe that Miss Austen’s work shouldn’t be meddled with. But surely, if anyone was going to … Continue reading

Posted in anglophilia, mystery | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Karen Armstrong, “The Spiral Staircase”

Karen Armstrong, it turns out, is a big deal. She’s an author and speaker on spirituality whose A History of God is evidently an incisive and readable history of the Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It’s probably her best-known … Continue reading

Posted in memoir | Tagged | 2 Comments

Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith, “Van Gogh: The Life”

Phew! Sorry — but really, who doesn’t feel relief upon finishing a volume that runs 870 pages? I read a paper-bound galley of Van Gogh: The Life and had a hard time just managing its physical bulk. This is not a … Continue reading

Posted in art history, best seller, biography | Tagged , , | 7 Comments