Saturday, May 16, 2009

Set in Idaho??

The empty nest thing is going fine, thank you, so far. What we lack in excitement, we make up for by digging into the next library book, which means that the Finished Book Pile is a small stack which we must catch up on.

First, there's Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding, who wrote Bridget Jones. Olivia starts on a pretty good hook. British Olivia has, well, an overactive imagination and its gets her in trouble on the job; she's a journalist. She longs to cover hard news, important stuff. But her editor, weary of her embellishments, sends her to cover the launch of a new face cream in Miami. Olivia meets the face cream magnate, who looks eerily familiar, like . . . like . . . Aha! Like a very famous bad man (I won't spoil it by naming him) who, in the face cream business, has devised a perfect cover for doing his bad deeds.

Olivia feels rapidly written. As Fielding threw more characters and plot twists in my path, I said to myself, Ah, Miss Fielding has decided to try her hand at mystery.

Things gel at about page 200 and, mind you, this is a 300-page book. If you decide to take it on, expect a cow patty count of about 1 1/4.

Next, we move on to The Sheep Queen by Thomas Savage. Have you ever read a novel set in, rarest of places, Idaho? Well, don't miss your chance. Read this one.

On the book jacket, Savage is praised for his mastery of the simple declarative sentence and I agree. It was a pleasure to read him.

In his story, a child is given up for adoption. Then she grows up and starts searching.

For me, the resolution wasn't terribly clear or satisfying, but I enjoyed the journey. It was a little hard to keep the names straight--birth mother, adoptive mother, birth mother's false name on the certificate, Thomas somebody in this generation, another Thomas in the next. I should have made a chart as I read, but I pretty well got the idea. I would not be able to explain it all to you, but why should I? Read it yourself.

No cow patties.

Meanwhile, if you need an idea for something to eat, I suggest:  Olive Cheese Bread

Anybody watch What About Bob? Anybody remember him moaning and sighing through the family dinner scene? I've watched people do the same over this bread.

But do take precautions. I served it at a luncheon of friends. I talked. I laughed. I smiled as I hugged them and sent them out the door. Then I looked in the mirror and saw the little olive bits stuck in my teeth.

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