The Red Address Book, by Sofia Lundberg (2019)

Historical Fiction
Adult

The Red Address Book, by Sofia Lundberg (2019)

How do we want to be remembered? Even close friends of many years are often surprised to learn our stories of growing up, of jobs had and lost, of paths taken and ignored. Doris is 96 years old; she has outlived all her friends and nearly all her family, and her days are spent in pain. The bright note in her life is a weekly Skype call to Jenny, her only living relative who is in America. Thumbing through her beloved red address book, given to her as a child by her father, Doris sees so many names crossed out, and remembers their stories and hers. She decides to write these stories down for Jenny, from her childhood in Sweden, modelling in Paris in the 1920s and 30s, falling in love, escaping to New York City with her sister when Hitler invaded France, and eventually returning to Stockholm where she now lives.

Read More »
Advertisements

My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite (2018)

Contemporary Fiction
Adult

My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Sisters Korebe and Ayoola could not be more different. Korebe is a responsible nurse, level-headed and thoughtful. The younger Ayoola is beautiful, impulsive, and obsessed with her standing in social media. She’s also a sociopath. When Ayoola calls her sister for help in the middle of the night, Korebe knows what to do – bring gloves and bleach. This is the third boyfriend in a row who has died at Ayoola’s hands, but family comes first for Korebe. Until Ayoola’s next boyfriend is someone Korebe has deep feelings for. Now what? Dark humour abounds in this little novel, about 225 pages, set in modern-day Nigeria. I was reminded of Patrick deWitt’s brilliant The Sisters Brothers – it’s that kind of tongue-in-cheek scenario that will have you laughing when you should be horrified.

Read More »

Witness: Lessons From Elie Wiesel’s Classroom, by Ariel Burger (2018)

Biography
Adult

Witness: Lessons From Elie Wiesel's Classroom, by Ariel Burger (2018)

I first learned of Nobel Peace Prize winner, scholar, Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel when a professor assigned his memoir Night, a book I still have on my shelf, for a European history class. (We also watched Rome: Open City – awesome class.) Wiesel passed away in 2016, to our collective loss. The world needs more people like him, activists who coach world leaders toward peace rather than war, toward acceptance and love instead of fear and hate. Witness offers an understanding of this wise teacher through the eyes of Ariel Burger, his former teaching assistant. The focus is of the religious, spiritual, and philosophical discussions from his classes, learned mostly by students but occasionally by the teacher. Perhaps the best description of this book is in Wiesel’s own words to a class: “Whatever you learn, remember: the learning must make you more not less human.”

Read More »

An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good, by Helene Tursten (2018)

Mystery (Short Stories)
Adult

An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good, by Helene Tursten

Well, here’s a surprising turn of events. If you are looking for a cosy mystery featuring a sharp-eyed nosy widow who solves the murder, this ain’t it. Eighty-eight-year-old Maud lives rent-free in Gothenburg, Sweden, in a highly coveted apartment, thanks to a decades-old agreement. With no family or friends, she surfs the Internet on a stolen laptop, travels the world drawing on a healthy savings account, and solves pesky problems with deadly precision. In this collection of five stories, Maud gets away with murder, thanks to a deadly combination of misanthropy, a mighty level of self-interest, a sharp intellect, and a ruthless willingness to use people’s assumptions about old ladies any time it suits her.

Read More »

Lullaby Road, by James Anderson (2018)

Mystery
Adult

Lullaby Road, by James Anderson

Utah short-haul trucker Ben Jones is back on the lonely highway, delivering water, propane and packages to the hardy souls who have made a home in the desert, away from civilization and its discontents. It’s October and winter has arrived, delivering snow only a day after t-shirt weather and making highway 117 to fictional Rockmuse even more treacherous. We first met Ben in The Never-Open Desert Diner, along with all the desert rats both friendly and curmudgeonly. Many of them make a second appearance in this novel, which opens with Ben stopping to fuel up before heading out into the snow, and leaving the station with three passengers – an infant, a mute Hispanic child, and a dog.

Read More »

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, by Mario Giordano (2016, 2017)

Mystery
Adult
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, by Mario GiordanoDeep down I really like old-fashioned mysteries. It goes back to my love of the Three Investigators and Trixie Belden as a girl, I suppose! I draw the line these days at restaurateurs who find bodies in the whipping cream, so finding the right balance between a cozy and too-cute isn’t always easy. But here’s a new author to follow. Isolde Oberreider, known to her family as Poldi, is grieving the passing of her husband Peppe. Drowning her sorrows – in good wine, mind you – she impulsively decides to move to Sicily for a sea view, a place where she can drink herself to death in comfort, though she is only just marking her 60th birthday. Read More »

The Fleur de Sel Murders (Brittany #3), by Jean-Luc Bannalec (2014, 2018)

Mystery
Adult
The Fleur de Sel Murders, by Jean-Luc BannalecThis is the third translated book in the Brittany mystery series featuring our cranky Commissaire Georges Dupin, exiled to Brittany from Paris some five years ago now. This time Dupin is looking forward to a relaxing weekend when he swings by a salt marsh to look for some mysterious blue barrels, acting on a tip from a reporter named Lilou Breval. Technically he is outside his jurisdiction, but it’s a good chance to get out of the office. As he is walking through the marsh, someone starts shooting at him. Read More »