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Friday, June 17, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain

This incredible story, written by Garth Stein, will touch your heart and make you want to believe in its legitimacy, even though it’s a work of fiction. Enzo the dog was raised from a puppy by Danny, an aspiring racecar driver whose family eventually expanded to include a wife and daughter. The dog also was a faithful family member, honor bound to protect them all. Remarkably, Enzo is the narrator of the story as he is a self-educated canine. Thanks to instruction from television and other sources, Enzo is capable of higher thinking, although he is unable to speak and has to communicate through gestures and actions.

There are two stories here, one being the tragedy that befalls Danny’s family when his wife dies and her parents try to gain total custody of the daughter, because of their belief that they will be better guardians than Danny who they see as less than stable because of his profession. But Danny is able to succeed in the end, thanks to his racing philosophy and sheer determination. The second story involves Enzo’s desire to become a human in his next life, something he has learned about from an educational television program and that he believes he is ready for. In a book balanced by equal portions of humor and pathos, we speed through Enzo’s short canine life, cheering on this noble creature who in the end receives his just reward.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'll Walk Alone

Octogenarian author Mary Higgins Clark has successfully published a long string of light mystery/romances over the years, skillfully blending succinctly drawn characters with continuous plot progression. I’ll Walk Alone features protagonist Alexandra “Zan” Moreland , a divorced, thirty-something interior decorator whose three-year-old son Matthew was kidnapped while with his sleeping baby sitter in Central Park two years ago. In addition to the desolation she feels from this loss, Zan also worries that she is losing her mind when it is discovered that large sums of money have been removed from her accounts by her, something that she knows she has not done. When a recently discovered photograph provides proof that Zan kidnapped her own child, even her friends and associates believe it to be true, although they suspect that Zan suffers from a split personality. Pursued by the press and the police, she struggles to prove her innocence and rescue her son. After some plot surprises, the reader is rewarded with the conventional happy ending and an enjoyable read.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lost Painting

Join author Jonathan Harr as he recounts the search for and discovery of the missing painting “The Taking of Christ” created by the Italian baroque artist Michelangelo da Caravaggio. Caravaggio is an artist of outstanding ability whose popularity has waxed and waned over the centuries. Several of his paintings have disappeared from the public view. Recently there has been much scholarly interest in Caravaggio’s works.

In this book, the adventure/mystery revolves around three major players: graduate student Francesca Cappelletti, who researches the provenance and history of
“The Taking of Christ”, Sir Denis Mahon, the world’s foremost expert on Caravaggio, and Sergio Benedetti, an art restorer who discovers the masterpiece at an Irish monastery and brings it to the National Gallery of Ireland. Harr presents an abundance of detail on the workings of art history research and art restoration, allowing the general reader to follow the action easily. He also enables the reader to access the thoughts and feelings of the main characters.