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The Colour of Law   book icon  
by Mark Giminez (2013)

read: 18 September 2017
rating: [0]
category: fiction

I liked but did not love this Grishamesque novel about a high powetred lawyer who decided to do the right thing. Part of it may be that I don’t know Giminez’s bona fides. That is, I know he used to be a Dallas lawyer working for a firm and is now in solo practice but... I don’t know how much he maybe is actually like the slightly clueless main guy. There were a lot of casual racist tropes tossed about and I don’t know the author well enough to know if he did his research or if he was just lazy. Women are treated fairly poorly and not given a lot of agency. So, it’s a good legal thriller, but doesn’t deliver more than your average formulaic one. A good book if you’ve never read the genre before. Disappointing if you’re already pretty well acquainted.

The Birdwatcher   book icon  
by William Shaw (2147483647)

read: 18 September 2017
rating: [+]
category: fiction

I liked this book. It slotted in nicely with the other “moody seascape” books I read last year but this one is a UK story and it’s more of a mystery thriller than just some gloomy fiction. Had nor read Shaw before, picked this up because it was on the “new” shelf at the library. Enjoyed the story, the backstory and the general pace of the thing. Been reading a lot lately, glad to have good books to do it with.

Our smallest towns Big Falls, Blue Eye, Bonanza, & beyond   book icon  
by Dennis Kitchen (1995)

read: 13 September 2017
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

This is a book with a simple plan: to find the smallest towns in each of the 50 states and take a photo of as many residents as can be gathered together at one time. It’s a great project and turns into an interesting book. It has an intro by Garrison Keillor as well as a few small statements from one of the people in town. Sometimes these stories are sad, or funny, but mostly they are poignant because the bulk of these towns are slowly fading away. There are a few exceptions, places mostly populated by rich people (the town in New York declined to even be photographed) but in general the stories of how these tiny towns came to exist or are slowly ceasing to exist make fascinating reading alongside Kitchen’s great photography.

Cat Zero   book icon  
by Jennifer Rohn (2018)

read: 10 September 2017
rating: [+]
category: fiction

I confess to not having known that LabLit (i.e. science-y fiction which is not necessarily scifi) was a thing. I am happy I do now! I got this book via Net Galley and stuck through the really weird cover to a thick book I very much enjoyed. it’s about science but you don’t really have to be a scientist to follow it. I admit there were a few places I glossed over the explanations but you can still follow the plot and the interplay of a lot of interesting and (mostly) likeable characters through a scientific mystery that is sort of layered on top of an interpersonal one.

Unlike some other books I’ve read recently (ahem ARTEMIS) this book has a smart female lead who is also believable in her strengths and weaknesses. She studies a very “unsexy” topic (FLV virus) and has a sort of crummy basement lab along with some other oddballs. Then she thinks she’s on to something. Then she tries to figure it out. This book got me continuing to pick it up to figure out what was going on and I liked the ups and downs of her character and the others. It was evocative without being flowery. Scientific without being either dull or didactic. Also, a minor concern, there is only one dead cat in evidence and it’s dealt with humanely and efficiently so if you’re someone with injured-animal-squeamishness (in which case may I suggest this website this book is still okay to read.

Glass Houses   book icon  
by Louise Penny (2017)

read: 7 September 2017
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Another great Gamache. Penny has been through some shit last year--her husband who had early stage Alzheimers passed away shortly after her last novel was published--and I think you can get traces of that, of the depth of feeling, in this book. Very poingant, and taking place mostly in the village of Three Pines but also sometimes in a courtroom, this is yet another “Is it all going to work out or all get sorted at the end” novel which does not disappoint.

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