Thursday, January 28, 2010

Canadian Vacation Reading

Finally, I have been able to read a bit more, since I am on vacation. It didn't occur to me until now, that all three authors are Canadian. Should have gone to Canada. Here are a couple of reviews:

Sylvia Maultash-Warsh: Find me again (a Rebecca Temple mystery)

This book has two parallel story lines from two different centuries: WWII Poland in one of them, and in the other, 18th century Europe including a larger number of countries, especially Britain, Poland and Russia. The latter is mainly about the life of young Catherine the Great and the politics around her. The two stories have a surprisingly similar ending, and become intertwined and unraveled in 21st century Canada. I find the inter-culturalism very appealing (Jewish/Christian, Polish/Canadian, Communist/Capitalist). The book is very entertaining, and touches several areas of my interest, including European history and opera singing. I guessed one of the two ending-surprises very early on, but I don't really mind, because I often read the ending after the first third of a book anyway.

This is my first North American Book for the 2010 Global Reading Challenge

Linwood Barclay: Too close to home
It's creepy when your neighbors are getting killed. It's even creepier, when the killer made a mistake, and meant to kill you. Great stand-alone mystery situated in a small college town in upstate NY. It has it all: the egocentric politician, the controlling and overbearing college president, the trophy wife, the difficult teenager, the genius, the thief. Nice picture of small town life and politics.  

Louise Penny: Still Life (The first chief Inspector Gamache Novel)

The first book written by Louise Penny. Great characterizations bring people to life, and describes the meticulous process her protagonist goes through to solve a crime. Situated in a French-Canadian town, it also gives insight into the Anglo/French frictions.

There even is a lesson in the book, coming from a disillusioned ex-shrink. I summarize it here, because I really think that it is an important lesson for many of us in all kinds of situations:

There are two types of patients: the ones that want to get better, and are prepared to change their life and their attitudes, and the ones that are so involved with their problems, quirks, issues and hang on to them for dear life, that they are not willing to change. The first group, if in therapy, changes fast, gets out of therapy, and gets better within months. The second group, however, lingers in therapy forever, because it is an outlet and an opportunity to have a captive audience, and just doesn't want to change, because it is not comfortable.

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