I recently finished two very different, very interesting books and thought I’d share.
Kind of me, isn’t it? Well, I’m just that way sometimes….
Book #1 is Death by Tea, by Alex Erickson, and I have to admit, I loved it! I also have to admit, this book tricked me into breaking a stupid rule I have and showed me in vivid color the stupidity of a closed mind!
A little background before we begin. I love cozy mysteries and I cannot lie! And I also don’t really care about the authors. That sounds cruel, but it’s just a fact. I pick cozy mysteries up like candy bars at the check out stand because I put both candy bars and cozies on the same level.
All I want out of the transaction is to lose myself to a pleasant sensation for a few moments of time. No need to think or ponder life, just give me a little sugary distraction then off it goes into the donation pile.
That being said, I just pulled it off the shelf…“Good cover, cute idea…yes, I’ll put both the chocolate bar and the book in my purse, thank you!”
And off I went. But what fun it was! This book was a refreshing breeze of the unexpected. Krissy, our heroine, is not well liked at all in town and I loved that! She can be self-centered, she lies to get information, her pet messes on the floor and she is a little too obsessed with getting a date.
I LOVED IT! Gone was the perfect wife and mother, the well-respected librarian or elderly gardener with the razor-sharp mind. Krissy has a business she doesn’t even run well. She is so human!
They mystery itself even caught me off guard. More than halfway through the book I found myself thinking, “But everyone has an iron clad alibi? How are you going to pull this off?” Yet, Krissy does figure it out. Another reason to love this book is the fact that Krissy, which means you, keeps looking for more complicated motives, when in the end, the motive is revealed to be much more ordinary than expected. Another score!
Now back to the stupid rule this book has helped me to see is SO STUPID!
I have a prejudice about reading books written from a woman’s point of view by male authors. Yep. It is without shame I admit to being all in on a double standard believing women authors can write male and female characters equally well, but male authors have no business attempting the same.
But, you got me, Mr. Erickson! I never even looked at your name as I was reading the book, so when I Googled you, SURPRISE!
This was a wonderful way to be proved shallow and sexist and incorrect! A little more growing gets done, thank goodness.
Now, onto book #2-
A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.
I have never read this book and I really didn’t know anything about the plot. I did know it was about the French Revolution and at some point someone said, “It is a far, far better thing I do today….etc, etc. etc.”
Truth be told, I wasn’t even really wanting to read it. My motivation was purely selfish, yet again. At some point in my reading life I came across an article or something which said we all need to stretch ourselves at times to read more difficult works to keep our brains from turning to mush. And I love the classics! The slower pace, the language, being able to add it to my classics-I-have-read list(Wow! I think I have a few life skills I need to check on, don’t you?)
It would be an achievement book. The opposite of the cozy; instead of a candy bar, I’m losing 5 pounds. It wouldn’t be fun, but I will be proud of myself when it’s over.
And off I went–being wrong again!
It was one of the most amazing books I have ever read! Dickens’ does not reveal too much at the beginning which draws you into the characters. The descriptions are so vivid you feel the cold and smell the decay. But the insights he offers into the lives and motivations of the people are prisms of astounding light. At one point, he discusses how the French had been so cruelly treated they had become cruel themselves and could not even recognize it. As the world spins off into insanity I was left awed by his insights into human nature, sacrifice, kindness and evil.
Another portal of my mind was pried open again. Thank God!
Maybe it’s not considered a classic because of its age, length or author…maybe it’s a classic because it’s simply that good.
What can I say?
Reading is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?