Trouble by Kate Christensen. I had read a couple of good reviews of this one before it came out, so it’s arrival was eagerly anticpated. Trouble is the story of three middle age women: a shrink, a rock star, and a “trust funder”. The story takes us from New York and a failing marriage to Mexico, an exotic love affair, and an aging singer. Although I’m not middle aged, yet, I imagine Christensen’s portrayal of the ins and outs of that life stage are fairly accurate.

Girl Who

Perhaps The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson was more eagerly anticipated. This, of course, is the follow up to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which I love, love, love. I’m not typically a crime and suspense reader, but these books are  more – I swear! I’m sure much of the appeal is due to Lisbeth Salander, the infamous “The Girl”. She isn’t necessarily likeable, but you do tend to care what happens to her. She is uber-smart, yet a complete social misfit. Larsson did a fantastic job with the pace of the novel. He alternates between the points of views of various different characters, but when Salander supposedly commits a crime and disappears, her voice is very obviously absent. You very anxiously await her return. I can’t recomend these books enough. (Though if you’ve read them and don’t care for them, I would be super interested to hear why not.) The third and final book The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest is due out in October (from what I can tell anway). Really I think this set would appeal to a wide range of readers.
In the Kitchen

I immensely enjoyed Brick Lane by Monica Ali a few years ago and the movie adaptation was pretty all right too, so I picked up In the Kitchen (not to be confused with In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak :P) with little hesitation. And of course there’s the fact it takes place in a hotel restaurant with “real” chefs that appeals to the foodie wannabe in me. Ali doesn’t disappoint. Gabriel, the head chef, is dealing (or rather not dealing) with a death in the basement of the hotel, a kitchen with a hodge podge of shady characters, the desire to open his own restaurant, and the immenint death of his father. He breaks and you are right there with him. This is a hefty book, but worth it.

sacred hearts

And lastly is Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant. I read In the Company of the  Courtesan by Dunant in conjunction with a class in my undergrad and was fond of her understanding of a certain type of woman’s plight during the 1500’s. Sacred Hearts takes place in an Italian convent, again in the 16th century. Women of nobility and wealth were often sent to convents against their will because the family could not provide a dowry for more than one daughter. As you would imagine, many convents weren’t the pious, drab places in our minds. Rather they featured women with jewels and all manner of status symbols. With a 21st century mindset it’s disheartening to think of being sent to live your life in a walled and gated community with little to no contact with the outside world – basically a prison. Ah, history…

Yeah, so I pretty much liked them all. Read anything good lately?