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Thursday, December 31, 2009

U is for Undertow

With the latest installment in her alphabet mystery series, author Sue Grafton continues her depiction of the coastal California, 1980s-based world of private investigator Kinsey Milhone. This time around, Kinsey is approached by a young man wanting to hire her to investigate a child abduction that occurred twenty years ago. The prospective client, who was six years old at the time, thinks he remembers seeing two men burying the child in a backwoods area. Against, her better judgment, Kinsey takes on the case. And like most of her cases, this one is completely different from all of the others, yet she again is able to unearth the solution, enabling justice to prevail. In a background story, Kinsey also moves closer to reconciliation with her deceased mother’s family. Skilled plotting and deftly drawn characters make this one of Grafton’s better entries in the series.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked her Marriage, her Job, and her Sanity to Master the Art of Living

Food memoirs seem to be proliferating nowadays. Julie Powell, the author of this book, claims her fifteen minutes of fame too. Julie is a woman approaching thirty, in a dead-end job, married to her high school sweetheart but not ready to start a family yet. Prone to emotional outbursts, Julie is feeling anxious and unfulfilled. She decides to embark upon a project that will encompass her dual interests of writing and cooking. Julie begins writing a blog about her quest to cook all 524 recipes from notable chef Julia Child’s first cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” within one year. Newfound recognition from her “bleaders” (blog readers) gives fresh meaning to her life. Julie’s descriptions of friends and family members provide a humorous touch to her book. Some fictional touches, such as Paul Child’s imagined thoughts about his wife Julia, add to the story’s ambiance too.