Sunday, April 11, 2010

Time to lighten up.

After reading the big chunksters, Wolf Hall, Cutting for Stone, and the serious Man from Saigon (review later this week) I spent my weekend watching ball games (GO SOX, and the Bruins), doing some cross-stitch, working out  and listening to delightful audio books that were the perfect antidote to the heavier reading I'd been subjecting my brain to.  I'm still reading an excellent biography of James Madison, and the narrative history of Henry Hudson's voyage on Half Moon, so I really did need to lighten up just a bit.  Both of these are from two of my favorite authors: Donna Leon and Patrick Taylor.  After finishing them, I can't decide where I want to go first: Ireland or Venice.  Either will do.  If you haven't read these (or even better, listened to them) get thee to the public library as quickly as you can..

Dressed for Death
Author: Donna Leon
Format: audio book (8 discs, 9 hr 45 min) 278 pgs equivalent
Characters: Guido and Paola Brunetti
Subject: murder and crime
Setting: Venice
Series: Commissario Brunetti
Genre: police procedural mystery
Source: public library
Challenge: Audio Books, Support your Local Library

Another great episode of Commissario Guido Brunetti and his crew as they solve the murder of an alleged transvestite prostitute, and the criminal activities of a large non-profit involved in the murders.  This is the 2nd of the series, and in this one we meet the Senorina Electra, Brunetti's secretary and admin assistant extraordinaire.  More great scenes of Venice, and the surrounding area.  More wonderful tempting descriptions of Italian eating , and a well developed plot with great characters.
An Irish Country Doctor
Author: Patrick Taylor
Format: audio 9 discs (10 hours, 48 minutes, 352 page equivalent
Characters: Dr. Barry Laverty, Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly, "Kinky" Kincaid
Subject (non-fiction)
Setting: rural Irish village of Ballybucklebo
Series: Irish Country
Genre: fiction
Source: public library
Challenge: Audio Books, Support your Local Library

This is the first in this really fun series.  Think James Herriott without the animals.  It's the story of Dr. O'reilly, the curmudgeonly but loveable small town GP who knows everyone and their secrets, and who isn't afraid to use placebos when he thinks they'll solve the problem.  He is getting on in years, however, and the workload is increasing, so he advertises for an assistant.  Enter Dr. Barry Laverty, fresh from medical school, full of book learning and under-tested people skills.  The two strike up an immediate if grudging respect for their different styles, and Dr. L settles in. Like most small GPs of the era (probably mid 70's) the office (or surgery as it is called in Ireland) is co-located with the living quarters, ably presided over by the housekeeper-cook, Kinky Kincaid.  The story is one of love, respect for people, and small town life.  The adventures of the "Doctors Dear" as Kinky calls them, are heartwarming and just the  things for a quick, loving read.  If you liked Jan Karon's Mitford series, you'll love these.


  1. someday I would love to go to Venice, but I actually have a plan to go to Ireland, once again, in November.
    this time I will bring my camera, because I have too few photos.

  2. As I was reading your review of The Irish Country Doctor, I was thinking it remined me of Karon's Mitford Series! And then you confirmed that. I loved Karon's series. I haven't read anything sweet, simple and pastoral since finsihing that series years ago. I just may have to give this a try. It might be a nice break from the more serious books I usually read. Thanks for the review.


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