Saturday, June 30, 2007

71. Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith

ISBN 13: 978-0-676-97624-3 - Random House, 2006
When Phuti Radiphuti asks his fiance Mma Makutsi if she is a feminist she replies, " Of course I am....These days most ladies are feminists. Did you not know that?" This question was prompted by a radio program on which Phuti heard a "feminist" talks about men being, "swept aside". As it turns out, he had nothing to worry about. But it made me wonder; is feminism dead? or are most women feminists today.
This 7th book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series offers insight into the different ways that men and women view relationships, marriage and the world around them.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

70. The Wounded Deer: Fourteen poems after Frida Kahlo by Pascale Petit

ISBN 1-902382-75-7 - Smith/Doorstop Books, 2005
Pascale Petit assumes the perspective of Frida Kahlo and uses Kahlo's voice in fourteen poems each written about a significant painting.
It was interesting to read Petit's poetry after reading Kettenmann's biography of Kahlo which includes many of the paintings that inspired the poems. I purchased both of these books last October at the Lewes Live Literature Festival in England, after attending Petit's presentation.
"Pascale Petit was born in Paris, grew up in France and Wales and lives in London. In 2004 the Poetry Book Society and Arts Council named her as one of the Next Generation Poets. She has published three full-length poetry collections. Her last two, The Zoo Father (Seren, 2001) and The Huntress (Seren, 2005), were both shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and were both Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement."

69. Kahlo by Andrea Kettenmann

ISBN 3-8228-5983-4 - Taschen, 2003
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) is probably best known for her exotic looking self portraits frequently in traditional Mexican dress with braided hair, like this one on the book's cover. This is because more than half of her works were self-portraits. When asked why this was the case, Kahlo replied, " I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best."
Her tempestuous marriage to muralist Diego Rivera and ill health due to a traumatic bus accident and polio contracted in childhood have lead Kettenmann to subtitle the book Pain and Passion .

Monday, June 25, 2007

68. Clutch of Constables by Ngaio Marsh

ISBN 0-00-651259-3 - HarperCollins, 1968
Once again, Troy Alleyn is 'in situ' when a crime takes place. This time, a gang of international crooks is involved in forgery, robbery and murder. But which one of the river cruise boat Zodiac's passengers is the notorious ringleader nicknamed the 'Jampot'?
As is frequently the case in her mystery novels, Ngaio Marsh displays her interest and expertise in the art world.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

67. A Busy Woman's Guide to Prayer:forget the guilt and find the gift by Cheri Fuller

ISBN 1-59145-321-6 - Integrity, 2005

Keele Street Christian Church's women's group has been using this book
as a study guide over the past few months.
It's not one of those books you read once and put back on the shelf.
There are many practical ideas to nurture your relationship with God and improve your prayer life.

66. Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh

ISBN 0-00-651241-0 - Harper Collins, 1947

The Ancred family make it impossible for painter Agatha Troy Alleyn, (CDI Roderick Alleyn's wife) to refuse the commission of portrait of patriarch and Shakespearean actor Sir Henry Ancred, Bart for his 70th birthday. There is much "drama" at Ancreton Manor which largely revolves around the family's distaste for Sir Henry's fiance Miss Sonia Orrincourt.
If Araidne Oliver was Agatha Christie in her own novels, Troy Alleyn was Ngaio Marsh living vicariously.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

65. The Villa of Reduced Circumstances by Alexander McCall Smith

ISBN 0-676-97681-6 - Random House, 2004
In this final book of the trilogy, von Igelfeld spends four months in at Cambridge University where he believes the country to be populated by eccentrics and becomes convinced that the British have no sense of humour.
When he goes to Colombia to accept an academic award, von Igelfeld gets involved in a military coup with bizarre consequences.