Saturday, July 17, 2010

What I read on my summer vacation, part III

Tinkers by Paul Harding. The quiet story of an old man’s deathbed reminiscences of youth and a time gone by is eclipsed by the enormous reach of its beautiful prose. I’ve rarely read a novel where each paragraph, each sentence, was so exquisitely crafted. Pick this book up and see exactly why Harding won this year's Pulitzer Prize.

Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. This quietly intimate book introduces us to two indelible characters: a brilliant mathematician whose short term memory lasts only 80 minutes and the perceptive young housekeeper who cares for him daily. While he might not remember her from day to day, or even from morning to afternoon, he finds succor in the unfailing order and beauty of numbers and mathematic proofs. I found this to be a thoroughly engaging book, poised at the rare intersection of mathematics and literature.

Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall. Assassination attempts, self-righteous con men, and interfering mothers are no match for Vish Puri, India’s Most Private Investigator and one of Delhi’s few unbribable men. This first book in a promising new series is so evocative of place that you’ll swear you can taste the paapri chaat, but the brutal descriptions of India’s poor raise this cozy mystery’s class consciousness a few notches above the norm. An absolutely vibrant read.

~Emily Crowe

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