The Sunday Salon – Currently reading: Charlaine Harris, Alexander McCall Smith & Beverly Bartlett

I’m currently reading three books right now, all of which I will be reviewing later this week (or when I finish them!).

I started Charlaine Harris’ An Ice Cold Grave last night, and was in for a pleasant surprise. I had actually read the first in the series, Grave Sight, last year and had enjoyed it – but I’d forgotten the name of the author and hadn’t realized it was the first in a series (the Harper Connolly series).

So far An Ice Cold Grave has been an engrossing read. I’m a third of the way through, and I only put it down because it was so late and I knew if I kept at it, I would be finished the book but it would be 5:00 a.m., which really wouldn’t do. If I get a chance to get back to it today, I’ll likely be able to finish it.

I’m also reading Alexander McCall Smith’s The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday. I really enjoy Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series; I know they’re “mysteries”, but they’re very different from the mysteries I normally read. With Isabel Dalhousie, it’s not really so much the plot, but Isabel herself who is so enticing. I fell in love with her from the moment I read The Sunday Philosophy Club, the first in the series.

The key to enjoying the Isabel Dalhousie series, I think, is to let go of the notion that they’re mysteries. Yes, each book involves a mystery of some sort, but the book itself is very much driven by Isabel’s character, her philosophical inner talk about everything that happens around her, and the application of ethics to every day life. If you reach for a book in this series expecting a rousing mystery, you’d probably be disappointed. But Isabel herself is so loveable; she tries hard to look at the world without judgment, and reading about her is always so enjoyable. It’s the kind of book you savor, rather than reading through in a breathless gallop – both are wonderful experiences, and I always like to have a little of each in my current reading.

The third book I’m reading right now is Beverly Bartlett’s Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle. The book quite surprised me when I first started reading. It’s written in something like the style of a biography, a Royal biography really, but with a chatty “talking to you, the reader” feel to it.

This is the first book I’m tackling for the From the Stacks Reading Challenge. I’m finding that while the book is interesting and fun as I’m reading it, when I put it down, my memories of it are not engrossing enough for me to pick it up again. But I’d like to finish this one by the end of this week.

Reviews Roundup: This past week, I’ve reviewed the following books:

Review: Doppelganger, by Pete Hautman and Mary Logue
Review: The Calder Game, by Blue Balliett (I really loved this book)
Review: The Riddles of Epsilon, by Christine Morton-Shaw
Review: Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer

2 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon – Currently reading: Charlaine Harris, Alexander McCall Smith & Beverly Bartlett

  1. Memory

    I think you make a good point about Alexander McCall Smith. I haven’t read the Isabel Dalhousie books yet, but they sound similar in execution to the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. Those ones aren’t really guess-along mysteries either; the resolution rests in Mma. Ramotswe’s skill as a judge of character.

  2. Dani in NC

    The reason you like the Dalhousie books reminds me of why I like NCIS and Criminal Minds. The mysteries don’t mean much to me; I watch those shows for the relationship between the characters.


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