Monday, May 24, 2010

My Big Fat What-I-Read-On-My-Road-Trip Post

Last Thursday morning, my boyfriend & I left bright and early to go on a weekend road trip. We had been invited by his brother & sister-in-law to stay at a cabin an hour or two south of Atlanta, Georgia, so that was our first destination. We made a couple of stops along the way -- notably, I spent some time in the new McKay Used Books store in Chattanooga. I visited their old building probably once a week during my college years at UT Chattanooga, but I hadn't been to their new store location until this weekend. Very nice, and almost an exact replica of their Knoxville location.

I picked up several new books, including a paperback copy of Joshilyn Jackson's first novel gods in Alabama. I read it years ago, but wanted to re-read it before the release date of Jackson's newest novel Backseat Saints (you can read my original review here, but look for an upcoming double book review/ comparison coming on Saint's release date in June). I had one at home, but couldn't resist picking it up to take with me to read on vacation. I also bought Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, which has been reviewed on many book blogs and which my favorite high school librarian recently told me I had to read. Also bought at McKay's: Cleaving by Julie & Julia author Julie Powell, Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown: Notes From a Single Girl's Closet by Adena Halpern, and The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs (who also wrote Comfort Food, which I loved).

Then lunch at Panera Bread in Atlanta. So good, and seriously? Why can't we get one of these in my town? We're not so big, but we are a university town & on the interstate to boot. We also made a stop (my first time ever) at Trader Joe's in Atlanta, which was everything I thought it would be (and more!). We're definitely going to be making a run to the Nashville location once a month or so for some staples.

My plan for the weekend was to lay in the sun, relax, and read, read, read. In the car, I listened to Patricia Cornwell's At Risk. I am a huge Cornwell fan, having read every Kay Scarpetta novel and every Andy Brazil novel. It would make sense for me to really like the Win Garano series, too, right? Well, I didn't. I listened to the entire thing, so I made it through, but I didn't enjoy it as much as Cornwell's other books. Originally published in serial form in the NY Times Magazine, the novella focuses on Massachusetts State Police investigator Win Garano. His boss, a female district attorney for Boston, orders him to look into a cold case in Tennessee with the hope that solving it will help her political career. When an act of violence stops them both in their tracks, Win begins questioning her motives. I found the characters much less sympathetic than Cornwell's other protagonists. Due to its short length, it was also difficult to really get into the plot, as things happen quickly and without much development. At Risk was recently made into a Lifetime Television movie, which I may watch simply to see the novella come to life.

When we arrived at the (absolutely beautiful) cabin on a private lake, I read Joshilyn Jackson's gods in Alabama in less than 24 hours. It was phenomenal the second time around, and you'll be able to read my thoughts on it in my post June 8th about it and Backseat Saints.

The next novel in my Kathy Reichs's Tempe Brennan series quest was Bones to Ashes, and so I delved into its pages as I laid on the beach on Hilton Head Island and then as Brent fished off the pier on Tybee Island. We decided that since we were so close to the coast (about 4 hours from the cabin), we would regret it if we didn't spend at least one night at the beach. So we visited the beach on HHI at Folly Field, stayed the night on Hilton Head (and visited the oh-so-fun Salty Dog & had our pictures made on their webcam) and then the beach on Tybee Island the next day. In this tenth novel in the series, Tempe is back in Montreal for the summer. When a police officer is found with a skeleton as a morbid collector's item, Tempe begins examining it and pondering the disappearance forty years ago of her childhood friend Evangeline. Reichs also continues the on-again-off-again romance between Tempe and Canadian police investigator Andrew Ryan. Reichs sneaks in another appearance by Tempe's crazy sister Harry, which makes the novel all the more enjoyable. Definitely a good inclusion for the series, and Reichs also involves leprosy in the plot. Very interesting, and with historically accurate information.

Since arriving home last night, I've begun Charlaine Harris's newest Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead in the Family, which came in an order from Amazon while we were gone over the weekend. It's definitely getting me in the mood for True Blood season 3 in June! I'm currently listening to Tess Gerritsen's Body Double on my iPod, so posts about those two will be coming soon.

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