Wednesday, August 29, 2012
In six months, a giant asteroid will hit earth and destroy everything. People have adapted to the news in different ways: quitting work and fulfilling their dreams, committing suicide, consuming drugs, etc. Detective Henry Palace, amid the chaos, decides to keep doing his job. When he's called out to McDonald's because someone has hung himself in the bathroom, Henry feels it's murder, not a suicide. The victim, Peter Zell, was a loner who worked at an insurance company. Henry is slowly able to piece together Peter's life in the last few months, but he faces lots of distractions. His sister is asking him to find her missing husband, his colleagues react to his seriousness with apathy and ribbing, and he's dealing with a lack of intimacy in his life. Set against the crumbling of society, Winters has written a mystery (first in a projected trilogy) with an interesting premise and likable main character. It reminded me of Body Politic by Paul Johnston.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Bernadette has slowly become shut off from society while living with her husband, Elgie, who works for Microsoft, and teenage daughter, Bee, in Seattle. Rarely wanting leave her home or talk to anyone, she has hired a virtual assistant, Manjula, who's in India. While she's a good mother to Bee, Bernadette's relationship with Elgie and the unkeep of their home (a former residence for wayward girls) have suffered. Bernadette has also separated herself from the other mothers at Bee's school, whom she has nicknamed the Gnats. When Bee decides that she wants the family to go on a trip to Antarctica as a reward for getting straight A's in school, it might be the event that causes their relationships to crumble. For all of its heavy themes, the book never loses its lightheartedness and is consistently offbeat. It was an enjoyable read.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
In 1973, single mother and children's book author Lucy Painter moves with her daughter, Maggie, and son, Felix, to Washington D.C. from New York City. Lucy, however, is keeping two great secrets from her kids: family friend Uncle Reuben is actually their father (but is married to someone else), and the house that the Painters are living in is the one in which Lucy's father committed suicide when she was young. These weigh heavily on Lucy and prevent her from having a social life with the other mothers in their neighborhood of Wichita Hills--especially Queen Bee neighbor Zee Mallory, who has taken Maggie under her wing. As Lucy and Maggie grow apart, will Lucy have to change her ways in order to mend her relationship with Maggie? While I enjoyed the book, it contains a few jarring anachronisms, such as references to Chuck E. Cheese and People Magazine, neither of which existed in 1973.