July 22, 2012

Summer Reading Club: July Link-Up


The second link up for the Summer Reading Club has arrived! If you don't know what's going on, check out the details and see the June Link-Up here. And if you want to participate later - you still have the link-up in August! Keep reading to see my take on the two July books -- Pardonable Lies and Drop Dead Healthy -- and to link up your reviews to share!

Pardonable Lies

Normally I love the Maisie Dobbs books, but for some reason I wasn't thrilled by this one. I still appreciated Jacqueline Winspear's writing - and her detailed (but not boring) approach to the historical accuracy of the time period, but I felt that Maisie herself was a bit lackluster in this one. I think perhaps the problem is that I originally read books 6-8 of the series, then went back and read 1-2, then read 9 when it came out, and now read this one, 3. So I know where the series is going, and am impatient for it to get there.

But I still enjoyed Maisie's thoughtful approach to crime solving, her careful analysis of the way people move and speak in order to get to the root of their problems, and her willingness to work herself into illness in order to meet her obligations. In this book she goes back to France for the first time since the war, in order to investigate the deaths of two different men: one a pilot, whose mother was convinced he hadn't died in the war, and made her husband swear on her deathbed that he would find their son; and the other the brother of Maisie's old friend Patricia. Patricia lost three brothers in the war, and knows where two of them are buried, but wishes to find the final resting place of her eldest brother Peter.


This book also has a bit more excitement than the others in the series. There are several attempts made on Maisie's life, and she is simultaneously involved in the two World War 1 cases, and in the case of a very young prostitute arrested for murdering her pimp. Rather surprising links between the cases end up appearing, and Maisie won't rest till she's solved them all.

Should I recommend this to my grandma? Sure! I did.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Questions:

  1. Was this your first Maisie Dobbs? If so, did you feel out of place jumping in mid-series? If not, how did this compare to others in the series for you?
  2. Many people in this book -- Jeremy Hazleton, Ralph Lawton, Maurice Blanche, Maisie herself -- are untruthful to varying degrees. Whose lies did you find most pardonable?
  3. Did you notice any particular details that brought the era to life for you?
  4. What stands out to me as I read these books is Maisie's empathy. Does it stand out for you? Have you ever tried mimicking someone's body language to understand the way they feel?
  5. Did you find the connection between the cases too improbable?

Drop Dead Healthy

I really like A.J. Jacobs' books. This is the third I've read - and even though they're a bit "stunt-memoirish" I still enjoy them. He does an excellent job of presenting facts in a funny way, making you laugh as you simultaneously learn a lot of information. In Drop Dead Healthy Jacobs goes on a quest to become the healthiest man in the world. He targets this goal one body part at a time: eyes, feet, gut, hands, etc. He visits medical specialists from all walks of life: surgeons, scientists, finger-exercisers, and diet fanatics. He tries several different diets, countless different workouts, joins a gym, and starts writing the book on a jerry-rigged treadmill desk, so he can walk while he's working.

Along the way his wife Julie and his three young sons get dragged into his antics, and he intersperses the story of his quest for health with his grandfather's decline. His grandpa was a sharp lawyer who's now fading, forcing Jacobs to analyze his own mortality as he works on his health.

This book left on a lasting impression on me - especially the part about how people who sit down a lot are way more likely to die young. So I keep standing up and moving around and stretching every few minutes as I blog!

Should I recommend this to my grandma? Sure.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Questions

  1. Which medical specialist/doctor/quack did you find the most interesting?
  2. Do you agree with me that Jacobs' wife Julie is one of the most patient people on the planet? What would you do if your significant other undertook a quest like this?
  3. Did you take away any health tips that you're going to put into practice?
  4. If you've read Jacobs' other books, how did this one compare? If you haven't, will you read one of the others now?
  5. What was your favorite section/body part that was focused on?
If you read one, or both, of the books, go ahead and link up your post(s) in the linky widget. Please make sure you link to the permalink of your review of the books, not just to your blog home page. If you don't have a blog, answer the questions I ask about each book.

Update: I asked Noel to pick a number between 1 and 8. He said 1. So, the winner is Lynda at Rhody Reader! Congratulations Lynda! I'll be emailing you your $10 Amazon gift card soon.

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