Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by.
I’ve had another lovely reading week. The highlight of the week was a new book by Joshilyn Jackson. I have loved all of her novels. They are always a combination of southern charm, quirkiness and creativity. This new one is actually the best one yet, although I think I say that about them all. It’s called The Almost Sisters.
It’s the story of Leia, a 38-year old single woman who is the creator of comics and graphic novels. She’s very good at it and is often a “feature” at comic conventions. A few months ago, at one of these conventions, she had a few too many tequilas and a wildly passionate night with Batman. Now she finds herself pregnant without knowing Batman’s real name or how to find him.
But, Leia has additional challenges in her life. For one, Leia’s step-sister’s perfect life has just come apart and Leia feels the need to at least help her thirteen-year-old niece. But before she can do anything else, Lela must deal with her ninety-something grandmother’s scandalous and uncharacteristic behavior in church. Leia drops everything and, with her niece in tow, heads for Birchfield, the small Alabama town settled by her great-great-grandfather. What is it that is causing this behavior. Is it Alzheimers?
It’s in Birchfield where everyone and everything comes together to be sorted out in perfect Joshilyn Jackson style. That style is always witty and humorous as well as thoughtful and touching. I loved Leia and howwell she dealt with her niece, her grandmother and her companion, her step-sister, and the two men — her brother-in-law and her baby’s father. A special treat in this novel is being in on the creation of Leia’s comic book/graphic novel. I could actually visualize all the drawings and imagine what the characters looked like.
Although I received a paperback review copy of this novel from the publisher, I purchased the audiobook version as a treat fo myself. My main motivation was that the author herself is the narrator. Ms. Jackson has narrated all but a couple of her novels. I’m convinced that no one reads her books as well as she does. It feels as if I’m right there in the room while she is telling me the story. I strongly recommend you read this book via audio.
I also read Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris for a book club discussion on Wednesday. The story was very different from our usual fare, but absolutely enjoyed by all. Its set in Saudi Arabia and looked inside the inner workings of very rich and extended family. The surprising twist is that this is a mystery — a detective story.
The mystery is the disappearance and then death of the teenaged daughter of an important family. The detective is Nayir, a man who is very devout while remaining very observant and thoughtful. He is single and is extremely careful not to violate any of the strict laws concerning women. That’s hard, especially when investigating the death and disappearance of a young woman. Fortunately, Nayir gets help from Katya, a very intelligent young woman who works in the coroner’s office. Together they do some solid detective work that will ultimately unravel the truth.
This book made for an excellent book club discussion. We primarily talked about the differences between the women in Saudi Arabia and our own lives. But we also focused on the character of both Nayir and Katya and the difficulty they both had in simply navigating through their jobs and their ability to have a relationship with each other. The book raises lots of questions.
That’s it foe me this week. As the saying goes, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegone. Not a lot going on. I trust your week has been just as peaceful. Happy Reading.