Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

This mystery was fairly engaging. I appreciated the author's choice of narrator, an autistic boy, who is very sympathetic. The resolution of the mystery is quite satisfying--although it seems a bit pat at first, on closer reflection, I think it reflects the characters the author has established quite well.

The Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke

I recently reread these poems in German, and found them both beautiful and haunting.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

I recently read this book again for the first time in several years, and I was quite happy to discover that my high opinion of the story was affirmed. This story is an excellent who-dun-it with an engaging main character, a hilarious supporting cast, and a quite satisfying solution.

English Grammar for Students of Spanish by Emily Spinelli

I found this grammar book practically useless. It is designed to supplement Spanish textbooks and fill in any gaps in the student's English grammar. Unfortunately, it only covers the most basic topics of grammar. Often its explanations for how to identify grammatical elements in Spanish are only "the same as in English." I would have preferred to buy a Spanish grammar rather than dallying around with this waste of time, money, and paper.

The Boy's Tale by Margaret Frazer

This mystery finds Dame Frevisse taking more responsibility for herself as Domina Edith's illness prevents her from taking an active hand in the daily affairs of the convent. I appreciated the way that Frazer picked up the threads and hints from earlier mysteries, although the politics of England in this period are still a little bit beyond me. I thought the identity of the criminal was particularly well-hidden (but not in an unfair way) in this story.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

I found this book oddly compelling despite several drawbacks. Using prose only remarkable for the vast number of clich├ęs she manages to deploy, Stephenie Meyer tells the story of the quite-possibly-doomed love between the world's most boring girl (aside from her passion for Edward, Bella is clumsy and likes to cook--that's it--and while Meyer claims Bella loves to read, she's too pretentious to get a card at the admittedly-small local library) and the world's most beautiful boy, who happens to be a vampire. The premise of Edward's ambivalence towards Bella is interesting, but the idea of a love affair with no touching plays out much better in Pushing Daisies, which as an additional bonus, doesn't have anywhere near the angst.