Month: July 2013

Book Review: Maggie Sefton’s Close Knit Killer

Book Review: Maggie Sefton’s Close Knit Killer

Eleventh in the Knitting Mysteries revolving around a group of friends who enjoy knitting, baseball, and each other in a thinly disguised Fort Connor (known in the real world as Fort Collins), Colorado. My Take I’m really impressed Kelly ever gets anything done what with all those luscious yarns and Pete’s coffee right to hand. Why does this Rizzoli come back to Fort Connor? Is he really that clueless? I do enjoy the friend interaction and all the support they provide each other. And as a fiber artist, I can appreciate — and wallow — in all that lovely yarn. There certainly isn’t any shortage on suspects in this one, but it is getting to be rather same ol’, same ol’. This one is just too smooth. Yeah, there is a bit of drama and tension with whodunnit, but the situation with Cassie is too easily resolved and Cassie herself is too perfect. In fact, the only real tension is in the whodunnit, and Sefton bringing Rizzoli back to an area where he destroyed so many lives just doesn’t make sense. Nor is there as much interaction amongst the usual crew as I’ve come to expect. Maybe it’s just that […]

Posted July 29, 2013 by Kathy Davie in / 0 Comments

Book Review: John Williams’ Stoner

Book Review: John Williams’ Stoner

A fictional biography of an English literature professor who tried. My Take I have to agree with Steve Almond’s assessment of Stoner. Williams does treat his characters with brutal honesty, and it’s a story that is so incredibly depressing. A life that is not so much lived as endured. It is a life that is a series of disappointments, that makes one question why one must live at all. Except for one brief period of actual joy in his life before it’s torn from him by an enemy. Williams does write beautifully, if depressingly: “Her needlepoint was delicate and useless, she painted misty landscapes of thin water-color washes, and she played the piano with a forceless but precise hand…” I do commend Stoner for the stance he takes on Walker, and I can’t believe Lomax was allowed to get away with this…I’m astonished. And, even more depressed. I do love the steps Stoner finally takes to readjust his schedule. He realized it was the first time [in five years] anyone had spoken his name since he had come there. Stoner is a decent man who deserved so much better. And the best he received is in Williams’ writing of him. […]

Posted July 26, 2013 by Kathy Davie in / 0 Comments

Book Review: Charles Baxter’s The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot

Book Review: Charles Baxter’s The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot

Nonfiction for the writer and intended to help develop a deeper, more interesting plot. In 2008, The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot won the Minnesota Book Award for General Nonfiction. My Take This was too subtle for me. I picked up a few useful bits here and there, but for the most part, I was just confused. The first chapter was good, and I got all excited with the promise of what I thought was ahead. “…create an interior space, using details of location and objects that mirror a psychological condition.” I love this idea and had never consciously considered it even as I subconsciously appreciated its use in the books I read. But then Baxter goes on to muddle it up. Or perhaps it wasn’t a muddle so much as he never connected the dots with his subsequent meanderings — it read more like a random series of thoughts that connected in Baxter’s mind. Further in, there is a dissection of motivations which Baxter explains as possible plot starting points. A bit obvious, but it was a chunk I could grasp. Oh, another interesting bit is his analysis of Freud’s “wrecked by success” phrase. It’s a truism that people […]

Posted July 23, 2013 by Kathy Davie in / 0 Comments