The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith
I had been meaning to finish this book for a while. It was good. I liked it but didn’t love it. This is the fourth in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. What made the first few so enjoyable (the simplicity of the story/characters/mysteries) suddenly felt dull to me in this installment. So I tossed to book aside with only about 50 pages left to finish, not really caring whether or not Mma Ramotswe got married or whether or not any of the cases got resolved. I did go back to it over the weekend simply because I was in dire need for something to read and couldn’t figure out which book I wanted to crack into. In the end: Happy Botswana Ending. Was I expecting anything different? The next one in the series, Full Cupboard of Life, sounds just as exiting as the rest: Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni installs a new seatbelt into Mma Ramotswe’s van, Mma Makutsi’s new house will have running water, everyone drinks a lot of bush tea. Alexander McCall Smith is a wonderful storyteller but his books should be reserved for when you’re coming out of a depression and want something simple and happy to read.
Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell (Illustrator)
I’d read a review somewhere that this children’s book is painfully formulaic: Main character sets off on an adventure, meets a new character every chapter, gets into some kind of trouble every chapter, gets out of said trouble every chapter, ends up facing bad-guy and finding out some truth about himself. Well, yeah; that’s a pretty accurate description of the book only, you’d be missing all the wonderful (and original) characters he comes into contact with. I really enjoyed this book and honestly couldn’t put it down. The types of people, places and plants are really fun. The drawings are especially good. I will say, though, a side character died and I wholly wasn’t expecting it. In fact, it really made me upset that a lovable new character was introduced only to die five pages later. Not cool.
Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
I knew the premise of this story (Millions of people on Earth disappear when they’re taken by God up to heaven) and it sounded a little too much like The Stand for me. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised with this book because it was so thoroughly realized. The story is taken directly from the Bible, describing what the Rapture would be like and Trials and Tribulations afterward. The Antichrist is rapidly coming into power. It’s all very exciting. This book mostly deals with the disappearances and the week afterward. My sister saw me reading this book and asked, “Isn’t that book, like, pseudo-religious or something?” Not pseudo. It IS religious and that might put some people off from reading it. Granted, the story does come off as preachy at times but the book (and series) is basically a novelized version of Revelations. It’s still an exciting and interesting read. Now I’ve got to finish the whole series and, for fun, read Right Behind and Kiss My - - Left Behind.