Archive for April, 2011

Mystery Click to listen now or download http://www.box.net/files#/files/0/f/0/1/f_662854061.

In the Woods

Lisa LC began the show with a confession: she’s not  (gasp! –Agatha Christie please don’t turn in your grave)  a mystery reader.  However, after numerous recommendations, she finally picked up a copy of Tana French’s immensely popular In the Woods and was riveted from page one.  Acknowledging that the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew entertained her as a child and confessing a contemporary love for the Maisie Dobbs series, she now understands  that she’s actually a closeted mystery lover.   J Lisa C then also came out of the mystery closet,  and confessed her own new found appreciation of this thrilling genre.

And so our show began with recommendations for great mysteries – ones great even for people who don’t think they like mysteries. In the Woods by Tana French – Lisa LC’s review “This woman knows how to write!”  She appreciated the sense of place created  by the author  (Dublin and Ireland in the early seventies and then post-economic boom), the feeling of suspense evoked by French and the intricately psychological aspects of this novel.



Daughter of Time

The Daughter of Time and The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey – J Lisa C likes the precise writing style, subtle and effective character development and the very British tone of these two books by Josephine Tey. Tey was a contemporary of Agatha Christie but perhaps due to lack of movies and television shows depicting her works, she’s not quite as well known.

Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton – Lisa LC was intrigued by the look at two continents – Australia and England – and the unraveling of family secrets. Bruno Chief of Police by Martin Walker is another favorite of admitted francophile Lisa LC. This is the story of a police inspector in southern France who encounters small town issues like  family feuds as well big world problems such as racism and the complexities created by the EU and the euro. (J Lisa likes it as well.)

Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series – J Lisa C looks forward to every installment of this series. The books offer a chance to live a bit with a inspector, his wife and his two children – all of whom she admires. It also transports you to Venice  – not a bad place to vacation, even if only in your mind.

Both Lisas love and recommend: Maisie Dobbs novels – A series of books by Jacqueline Winspear that transport the reader into post WWI England and allows insight into what it takes for people and countries to recover from such massive devastation. Louise Penny’s novels set in southern Quebec also made our cut.  We love the main dectective – Inspector Gamache, his family and the characters he befriends as the mysteries unfold.

Because we can’t stop talking about books, we also mentioned the following books, many of which are definitely not mysteries: Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – In The Woods reminded Lisa LC of The Lovely Bones – a best-selling book told from the perspective of a dead child. Still Alice by Lisa Genova – The well-told story of 50-year-old Harvard professor Alice Howland as she grapples with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Wit, A Play by Margaret Edson – A one woman play about living with cancer and dying with grace. Just Kids by Patti Smith – The best selling memoir of life as an artist and life spent loving an artist. The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart – A tale of a beefeater, his wife and their tortoise and of course, the Tower of London.


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Listen now to Coming of Age or download http://www.box.net/files#/files/0/f/0/1/f_662856759

The flashy gum ball pink cover of the book, our relating so well to her previous work (I Don’t Know How She Does It) and an NPR interview with Allison Pearson had each of us hankering to read Pearson’s I Think I Love You.  So we did.

We appreciated this poignant tale whose laugh out loud moments reminded us that no matter how far you travel, you’re never too far removed from your teenage self.  And, as a bonus, when reading about David Cassidy  you just can’t help but “come on, get happy” (think Partridge Family theme song).

This got us thinking about other “coming of age” books that we love.  Of the thousands to choose from, we selected to re-read An Abundance of Katherines by John Green and E.L. Konisberg’s The View From Saturday. And thus, a theme was born: we realized all three books involve road trips, focus on young love and have characters trying their darndest to mature.

An Abundance of Katherines takes the reader on the road from Chicago to Tennessee with Colin a boy cursed with a heart broken 18 times by girls named Katherine.  Fortunately, Colin’s best friend Hassan decides that this affliction can only be cured by a road trip.  You will love their trip, their friendship and their attempts to break the curse of the Katherines using math, travel and often sophomoric humor.



We both adore books by E.L. Konisberg and count From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler among our favorite books of all time.  However, for this show we chose The View From Saturday. This book won the Newberry in 1996 (30 years after she won for The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler further endearing her as one of our idols).  It chronicles four members (and their unique teacher) of an extraordinarily successful 6th-grade quiz bowl team who are initially “stuck” with each other but grow to appreciate each other and all the quirks people bring to relationships. They learn humor and affection save the day.  Their road trip is to the state championship.

So there you have it – three great books about love, road trips, growing up and having fun along the way. ENJOY!

p.s. There is a road trip (or shall we say ‘train trip”) in “I Think I Love You” but you’ll have to read it to find out more!

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