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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Books Read in December

I read quite a few books in October and November but I don't think that I can put them in order. I'm starting again now!

The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith

I love reading about the charming and philosophical Isabel. The third one in the series, this book includes all of the usual characters - Jamie, Cat, little Charlie, and Grace. Isabel is asked by Minty to help solve a problem and has to apply her detective skills and decide whether the rather hard-headed Minty is trustworthy or not. She is also required to meet her niece Cat's new boyfriend, a trapeze-artist. (!)

Alexander McCall Smith's gentle, Scottish novels evoke the misty, romantic setting of Edinburgh very well. They are also very amusing, although the ones set in Africa are probably funnier. I am attracted to cold, green locations, and I like the philosophical questions in these books so I prefer this series. I've only read the first one in the other series so I'm not sure about this, but I also prefer Isabel to Precious so far.

Londongrad by Mark Hollingsworth and Stewart Langsley

This is a long and complicated tale about the large influx of wealthy Russians into London and their surprising amount of power. It involves mysterious deaths, drawn-out legal battles and power struggles with Putin.

The most interesting part of the book is the account of Litvinenko's poisoning and its repercussions. The lack of democracy in Russia and the crises after the end of the Cold War are explained very well here.

I have to admit to enjoying reading about the excessive wealth of the oligarchs. Their art collections, London houses and country mansions are likely to make any reader envious and the authors get quite carried away when they describe it all!

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