Archive for August, 2007

Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Reviewed by Rose

This story is a historical memoir of science, faith and love. Galileo upholds each and everyone. Sobel is a brilliant story teller. She credits Galileo with astronomy, history, navigation, and more which of course is factual.

In this story, Galileo believes the sun is the center of the Universe which is depicted and defined as “heresy.? Find out who it is that opposes this reasoning. The story deals with the “Bubonic Plague.? There is quite a lot of discussion on his book, “Dialogue? published in 1633. His children play a very important role; he has two daughters and one son. His most affectionate and caring daughter is S. Marie Celeste who is in the convent and writes to her father just about daily.

There is much I have not revealed. Keep in mind this story takes place from late 1500 to about 1645. The book is an education. It’s a real gem and I disliked it coming to an end.

The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney

Friday, August 10th, 2007

The Saving Graces is a name chosen for a foursome of women friends who share dinners and secrets and help guide one another through very different lives. They always made clam chowder at the beach. The beach plays an important part of their lives, get-togethers and their final farewell to one of their members.

The four gals ( Emma, Lee, Rudy and Isabel ) have distinct, and very different personalities. Each chapter is one of them speaking and representing her personal viewpoint of current circumstances. Somehow they support each other and that bond moves them all to a better life and circumstances as they go through some very hard times.
Reviewed by Joan Badie

For vacation reading at the beach, the book is just great.

The Sea Lady by Margaret Drabble

Friday, August 10th, 2007

 Reviewed by Carolyn Wood

The first half of this book might deter book lovers from continuing to the depths of this work where the waves of childhood memories reel in readers and ignite adult emotions in the main characters.  Readers can identify with personal growth in Ailsa Kelman and Humphrey Clark once they adjust to reading the name “Humphrey? in print.  It is not a name heard often in the U.S., though in this work it fits the protagonist like a hermit crab and the perfect shell. 

Character development builds on clues from the past that have bearing on adulthood experiences.  The author shares a lifetime of wonderment from the edge of the shoreline through narration by the “Public Orator.?  The Orator’s description of character relationships mirrors the scholarly description of sea creature behaviors.  Sea commentary alludes to human frailties and triumphs.   The author paints an engaging portrait of earth and sea representing two parts of the larger system of life.  The vivid descriptions of sea life may appear “over the top? or tedious, however as the story unfolds readers will be swept away by the rhythmic comfort of the dialogue.  Readers can feel the ocean’s presence through many descriptive passages. 

The Sea Lady is a fun read for the summer months when busy schedules impede visits to the water’s edge.

Plenty: one man, one women, and a raucous year of eating locally by alias Smith and J.B. MacKinnon

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

 Reviewed by Cheryl Rheiner
This is a month-by-month account of the 100-mile diet and its progression during the course of a year. The story is told in alternating voices by the authors and details their attempt to eat food that is grown and produced within 100 miles of
Vancouver, B.C. The year begins when they forage for a meal to feed a guest to their cabin in
British Columbia and decide to try to eat locally for a year. One of their first attempts to feed guests relying on 100-mile foods results in a meal that costs $128.87 and they realize how difficult and expensive the experiment might be. As the year passes they become creative, frustrated, bored but determined to see it through. They discuss reports, studies and research on the topic of eating locally and provide a list of readings and websites at the end. Each month’s chapter ends with a recipe. I think the idea of eating locally is a sound one but I wondered if I would be able to persevere with the foods that are available in our own 100-miles when the bounty of JerseyFresh is not available. If you are interested in the slow food movement this book is ‘food for thought.’ There is a website with additional information and a link to the 100-mile map at: 100milediet.org

The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

A Novel of Suspense – Reviewed by Joan Badie

This mystery, “The Rosary Girls,? is set in the city of Philadelphia. Although the crimes are too graphic, unbelievably cruel and distasteful, the description of the neighborhoods and personalities of different parts of the city is very down-to-earth and accurate. The author did his homework. The detectives featured in this story are well described and their interaction very well done. He combines not too much feeling, but lets the reader understand where the main characters are coming from in terms of background, family and emotion.

The writer is very skilled in setting up the murder situations and describing gross details along with the police investigation of the suspects and surroundings in the crime scenes. His choice of a religious (Catholic) background in the mystery is unappealing to me, the reader. However, the mad man perpetrator uses the rosary’s Sorrowful Mysteries to execute his murder of young Catholic schoolgirls. Each girl is left with a rosary between bolted hands at the time of her death, along with other atrocities. Each is positioned in death on a Sorrowful mystery. The last girl escapes by hurling herself, despite a drugged condition, out of the car. The murderer, seeking the Crucifixion theme next, then turns to the female detective, Jessica, and her little five year old daughter, Sophie, for the final sacrifice. The action is gory and stimulating at the climax. At the end, the author seems to imply the death of the murderer’s premature baby and subsequent decline of his wife and marriage, led to his infamous crime spree. It seems the murderer was expecting a resurrection of his baby (The grave was recently dug up.)by his horrible murders during Holy Week before Easter.

The story of the detectives’ lives are also portrayed and one feels they actually know them. Kevin Byrne is the male detective of many years who suffered a near death experience and now has a sixth sense of murder happenings and a feel for the evil of the murderer. He ends up in the hospital, but opens his eyes to life once again while Jessica, his partner, is there.

The author really gets you wondering who the murderer really is! He is obviously very skilled. Yet, I feel it is not at all wise to write such gruesome details and explanations as it my lead to some deranged guy to try it on others. I call to mind the killing of the Amish girls in Lancaster, Pennsylvania early in this year of 2007 with the lame explanation the murderer was still grieving over the loss of a premature baby some years ago.