I'm going to raise a sensitive issue here: holiday gift giving. Yes, holiday gift giving even though it is only October. In the blink of an eye it will be mid-December and you may be scrambling to find a fabulous gift for someone on your list. Why wait? If that someone loves to cook, plan ahead now and check out these intriguing cookbooks, newly out this fall. They all look great.
The book-reading community will be honoring the work and memory of author Pat Conroy during the week of October 24. Conroy died earlier this year at the age of 70. His writing, as described in the New York Times, "mined the people, the places and the trauma of his childhood and young manhood for his thinly fictionalized novels and a series of memoirs that captivated readers with their openly emotional tone, lurid family stories and lush prose that often reached its most affecting, lyrical pitch when evoking the wetlands around Beaufort, S.C." (William Grimes, The New York Times, March 5, 2016).
Among Mr. Conroy's most famous books are The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, and The Prince of Tides. I read these when initially published, but may revisit The Lords of Discipline, a look at life inside a Southern military academy, which is the latest selection for the Wall Street Journal's book club. (The WSJ Book Club is a public group on Facebook.) I wasn't a huge fan of these books, but other book- reading friends absolutely love his work. It might be interesting to see how the experience of reading Mr. Conroy's writing is different with the passage of 20 years.
If you are looking for something interesting to read, try some Pat Conroy novels this month. If you've already read his work, what do you think of it?
In Fatal Pursuit, Martin Walker continues his series of cozy mysteries set in rural France and featuring Bruno, the police chief of St. Denis. In this outing, Bruno is called to the home of an elderly couple. It appears that while the woman was out of town, her husband died of a heart attack. Bruno, however, finds the scene suspicious and sets an investigation into motion.
Now in most mysteries, having identified the potential crime, solving the crime would completely consume the main character's time and attention. This is not Martin Walker's style. Yes, Bruno attends to his job, but that attention includes assignments outside of the dead gentleman. And the reader is also treated to an immersion in life in the French countryside; to the enjoyment of carefully prepared food, good wine, and good times with friends. And in Bruno's case, his group of friends include his horse, dog, and a new romantic relationship with a beautiful woman.
On top of all this, Bruno also spends time participating in an auto rally. And this rally, and the crowd of people it attracts to his community, shapes the resolution of the novel. But really, Fatal Pursuit is more about joie de vivre than crime busting. And for this reader, entering such a world is a welcome relief from current events.