11 February 2015

The Good The Bad and the Furry, by Tom Cox

An amusing collection of anecdotes about Cox's cats, family and life.

Cox has a Twitter feed @mysadcat.

In the Pond, by Ha Jin

Shao Bin is a frustrated artist, master calligrapher and cartoonist, who works in a factory in China. He feels mistreated, even abused, by the men who run the factory, and his attempts to get better housing for his family, and improve his life, are constantly frustrated.

This is an unusual novel, a picture of what life in China might be like, or at least what it was like in recent times. It can certainly be seen as a protest against the bureaucratic system there, but there is more going on than just that.

A very fast and enjoyable read.

This is a New York Times review.

10 February 2015

Innocent, by Scott Turow

An audio book.

Told from several points-of-view, this novel is the story of  "Rusty" Sabich, a judge in Turow's fictional Kindle County. As the story begins, Sabich's wife has died. For some reason, Sabich does nothing upon discovering that she is dead, and sits with her lifeless body for twenty-four hours before calling his son.

As the story unfolds, we learn about Sabich's life, and the suspicious things that have happened in his past. We hear the story from Tommy Molto, Sabich's old colleague and sometime enemy, who is now the prosecuting attorney, who comes to suspect that Sabich may have murdered his wife. Other bits are narrated by Sabich's son, and by Anna, his former lover.

The plot is complicated, and fascinating. Turow has spun another great Kindle County legal mystery, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Washington Post Review

The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore

William Moulton Marston invented the lie detector, and created Wonder Woman.

This wonderful book can be, among other things, read as a modern history of the feminist movement. It begins in the early 20th century, with the suffrage movement, and with Margaret Sanger's struggle to make birth control available for women in the USA. 

Reading this book will provide insight into the obstacles faced, and gains made, by women in America in the last hundred years or so. In addition, some will be learned about the comic book industry, and the genesis and development of the iconic Wonder Woman character who I remember being played by Lynda Carter on TV in the 80s.

The New York Times Book Review describes this book as a "long strange thing to chew on."