These reviews are quick ones because I didn't read all these books and as you read on you'll find out why.
Book One: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This is my book club's selection for February. We'll meet for dinner and discussion this Friday night. It's a long book: 477 pages and not one I'd likely have selected on my own. I started reading it on the train to NH and had mixed feelings about it. While visiting family I picked up another book to read there (see book two) and then returned to reading this one on the train trip home. I didn't finish it then, again feeling uncomfortable about the story and debating whether to continue. I did final return to it last week and finish it. Overall not a book I'd recommend. It does give a plausible description of the life of immigrants to this country, it is enlightening about stereotypes and debunks them, and it is a story of love lost and found. I think it's the last that I found difficult to accept especially after some of the escapades of the main character. The love found at the end is so abrupt that it not believable. You may think differently and it will be interesting to see how others in my book club viewed it.
Book Two: The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith
This is the latest in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. A very good read as usual. McCall Smith is so adept at telling a story and describing the thought processes of his characters. I have read this series several times through and always purchase the latest book for my library. If you haven't read any of these start with the first one and be prepared to be delighted by Precious Ramotswe, Grace Makutsi and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and life in Botswana.
Book Three: Perfect by Rachel Joyce
I got this at the library because I thoroughly enjoyed Joyce's first book The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. As I read the flap in preparation for reading this I wondered why I thought this one would be good. "In one terrible moment, something happens, something completely unexpected and at odds with his life as Byron understands it. While his mother seems not to have noticed, eleven-year old Byron understands that from now on nothing can be the same." Huh! I thought. No, I decided not a book I want to read after all. Now you may think differently but I was in no mood for "bewitching characters" so I put it down.
Book Four: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
This book takes Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice beyond the point where Austen's ends and weaves a murder mystery. I enjoy Jane Austen despite the exceptionally long sentences and always enjoy a good mystery so the combination should have been perfect. I gave it about 30+ pages and gave up. Now I can forgive Austen for her writing because that was the style of the time, but not P.D. James for mimicking it. What a ponderous slow start. I tried but it was not to be added to my list of completed books.
Book Five: The Boston Raphael by Belinda Rathbone
So I thought this was going to be a modern day true mystery solved. Not! I did finish this book but only by skimming the portions that had very little to do with the story behind the painting purchased by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts under shady circumstances and attributed to the Renaissance painter Raphael. The question of whether or not it is a Raphael is never established. The painting languishes in storage back in Italy which is unfortunate because it looks to be a beautiful little painting. Don't bother reading this one!
So readers, do you ever have those days when the book you select just doesn't feed the urge to read and be delighted? I need to return these to the library and find something else to read.