Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Short Takes

It's back, that feature where I talk about a few books in quick succession. They're books that didn't spark any sort of deep thoughts, but still worth mentioning anyway.

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. If you haven't read any of his books other than the two that everyone gets assigned in high school, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. It's very short, and is simply a slice of life in this part of a California town, and the characters that live there. Like a lot of fiction from the 1930s and 1940s, it's rather difficult to describe, as it's so character-driven, and doesn't seem to have a formal "plot." It's worth reading for yourself. Pick it up, you won't be sorry.

Faith, by Jennifer Haigh. Having discovered her through a remaindered hard copy of "The Condition" last year, I was pleased that she came out with a new book so quickly. This family drama coincides with the international scandal of priests molesting children. When the narrator's brother is accused, she and her other brother have to choose sides. Since you get several perspecitves, it also provides an interesting look at the life of a modern-day priest. It's definitely up to her usual standard. I wish I could recall more detail, but I do recall liking it.

The Bride's House by Sandra Dallas. I enjoy Sandra Dallas, but honestly, her books tend to be similar. Though one thing I do appreciate about her is that she can resist the "too spunky for her time" trope on occasion. The first inhabitant of the Bride's House, Nealie Bent, has no higher aspirations than to escape her abusive father, marry a rich man and settle down in the Bride's House, the fanciest place in her new community. It doesn't go quite as planned, though, and her daughter is actually forced into Too Spunky mode, on a short leash as her father's accountant when she'd prefer to marry. By the time we meet Nealie's granddaughter, she doesn't need to be Too Spunky. I loathed the ending of this book, because it just seemed dumb, but for the most part, it was a nice quick read.

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