Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

This is a novel about Nora, a lonely, thirty-seven year old teacher living in a two bedroom apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Even though Nora has set up her second bedroom as an art studio, she cannot find the inspiration needed to pursue her art. Her life changes when her new student Reza Shahid is attacked by bullies on her watch, and she meets Reza’s mother, a beautiful Italian artist married to a Lebanese professor teaching at Harvard on a fellowship for a year.

Nora soon becomes obsessed with this family. Through knowing them, she feels she has new purpose in life, and even begins to pursue her art. But with any obsession, there is always a price to pay.

This is a well written, psychological suspense novel, and the twist at the end will stay with you for some time.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden

Tracy DiSabato-Aust’s book is a great resource for information on perennial maintenance.  She addresses subjects like designing with maintenance in mind, bed preparation, pruning, deadheading, pinching and division. The second half of the book, which I find the most useful, includes dozens of entries on specific perennials and their pruning requirements along with other maintenance tasks. If you have ever wondered if deadheading a particular perennial will give you that extra flush of bloom, read this book. There are also useful lists in the back with such titles as “lower maintenance perennials”, “clay busters” and ” deer-resistant perennials”. Tracy has over twenty years of experience designing and maintaining perennial gardens.  She has experimented with cutting back perennials in her customer’s gardens to find what works best for various species. This book is a very handy guide for keeping your garden beds beautiful and floriferous.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Double Deuce by Robert B. Parker

"A 14 year old girl and her baby are killed in a drive-by shooting in one of Boston's projects called Double Deuce.  Hawk is asked by the residents of Double Deuce to find the killer and to get rid of the Double Deuce gangs.  Hawk enlists his friend, Spenser, to help him."  While Hawk is a professional thug, Spenser is a private eye.  They use their unorthodox methods to find the killer.

I like reading Spenser books because of Parker's writing style.  He writes short chapters that move along quickly.  Before you know it, you are almost done with the book.  You may like a Spenser book if you like a quick read.