It's rainy and cool out today, which means it's the perfect weather to talk about books.
[Note: Other perfect types of weather for book discussions: Snowy, windy, drizzly, sunny, cloudy, and stormy weather. It is always The Right Time to talk about books. Unless you want to stop talking and read instead. In that case, you're excused with my blessing.]
Here are my most recent favorites:
Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris
Joanne Harris must be some kind of magician, because she somehow took a story about a distant, cold, possibly mentally ill mother and Nazis and haunting secrets set in WWII occupied France and made it loving and poignant and very, very readable. It doesn't pretend to be the frolicsome Rainbow Brite of novels, yet it never feels unnecessarily dark. I need to go back and read her previous book Chocolat because in my estimation, there are less than ten movies that I'm willing to watch over and over again; the film version of Chocolat is one of them.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
I've recommended this book to two friends so far: one who is one of those (lovely) freaks who likes numbers and reading; and another who says she loves to read, but just doesn't have the time. She requested a recommendation for a book that was: short, relatively clean, not too depressing, but not too brainless, either. This was the book I suggested for her, a story set in Japan of a housekeeper who goes to work for a mathematics professor/savant whose memory can only retain the most recent 80 minutes, and the relationship this housekeeper and her young son develop with the mathematician despite the fact that every morning, it's like he's meeting them for the first time. Charming and thought-provoking.
An Otis Christmas written and illustrated by Loren Long
We love the Otis the Tractor books, but this one was new to me, and I obviously wasn't ready for the drama and wonder of a pregnant mare in danger of losing her foal on Christmas Eve and Otis learning that the most important thing about Christmas isn't gifts at all. (Oh boy. Here we go again.)
The illustrations are beautiful and endearing, the story itself is a delightful punch to the ventricles. I just love this book.