Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28: Still Lots of Summer Left

Recently, I've been rereading a few favorite Gil McNeil novels (the Knitting Club series) and listening to I am Malala: wow. I've also started and stopped a few other books that just didn't cut it after the powerful reads during my vacation. However, today I finished a book I'd missed in a favorite police series:

Willful BehaviorWillful Behavior by Donna Leon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had somehow missed this Leon novel, and it was nice to be reminded of what a strong writer Leon is. The food, the atmosphere, the family ambiance--it's all here. There was an extra level, as well, as a theme of the novel is people's actions during WWII and various present-day attempts to avoid guilt. There's a powerful passage where Brunetti asks his father-in-law about his experience fighting with the Resistance: those four or so pages reminded me strongly of All the Light We Cannot See and its meditation on ethics, survival, and our actions. However--without revealing too much--I was disappointed with the conclusion, which ended on a very different note.

Still: a good Brunetti novel is a great way to spend a few summer evenings. Recommended.

and maybe I'll cheat by just pasting my newest review in here, even though I finished it Wed., July 29. . . . but there is STILL a lot of summer left, darn it! And I *did* like this book a lot. The Truth CommissionThe Truth Commission by Susan Juby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read The Truth Commission in about a day (handy to have the carpet cleaning guys come and keep you out of your house for an entire afternoon), and it *might* be a 5/5 stars, but right now I'm confused enough about the ending to say that at this point.

However, this is an interesting, genre-bending, thought-provoking, clever, absorbing novel. It's a tad too cute in some places (but that does capture Normandy's teen persona, especially at first); takes on a few too many topics too glibly (but they are interesting topics), and ties up too many loose ends too easily, keeping the sister's personality in particular disappointingly flat, but. . . . it's a really interesting book!

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