Feb 072013
 

A number of years ago, I signed my book club up for every publisher and agent and other group who was taking book club registrations. I was, as always, upfront with our focus: Jewish Lit.

I got a few suggestions for books. I got a lot of postcards from people who’d just snag my name and not bother to look at what our group is all about. I even got a few books.

And then… silence. For years.

A few weeks ago, Kensington Press was kind enough to send me two books: Scrapped and Chihuahua Confidential (written by Mollie Cox Bryan and Waverly Curtis, respectively).

Hmm, I thought. They look cute, but they’re not Jewish-themed. We’ll read cute, so long as it’s Jewish-themed. That’s our thing. Jewish lit.

Kensington was kind enough to send me a catalog of their other upcoming cozy mysteries, and it features a work of Jewish lit. From Herring to Eternity, by Delia Rosen. It looks like it’s part of a series, and we prefer to read series in order — which isn’t a problem, except the setting is what makes this Jewish-themed. That means it’s not a Jewish-themed series. Possible strike out, right there. It’s not due out until August, so I’ll discuss it with my group, but I’m not optimistic.

Well, thanks for the thought, I told myself. It was nice of them to send me two books.

This week, I picked up an advance copy of Joanne Fluke’s new Hannah Swensen Mystery, Red Velvet Cupcake Murder.

Still not Jewish-themed.

I’m still appreciating the thought.

If you know of any Jewish Lit not already on our book club page (did you even know that was there? I bet not!), throw the titles my way. I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t been able to keep up with the search.

Dec 052012
 

I haven’t talked about the books I’ve been reading lately because, frankly, I haven’t been reading much. Between editing, the whole single-parenting thing, and reviewing for the book reviewing people, I don’t have a lot of reading time.

In fact, I’m about to make a big push to catch up on some of the Rock Fiction that authors have been kind enough to send my way.

But first, I wanted to talk about Ariana Franklin’s The Serpent’s Tale. It’s neither a book I was supposed to review, nor is it Rock Fiction. (Not if it’s set in the 11th century or whatnot!)

It was a book club book.

Yeah, you know: that book club I’ve been part of for years now. (Still not sure? Go under Extras above and scroll down.)

We’d read Mistress of the Art of Death as a group and really liked it, so we put The Serpent’s Tale on our list (we also have the other two on it now). And… it wasn’t as good as the first, not by a longshot, but what intrigued me about it was that for part of the book, it became a classic closed-room mystery. You know the type: like what Agatha Christie was known for. Everyone locked in a space together, with no way in or out and a killer among us.

I’d have liked to see Ms. Franklin do more with that structure and let her main character, Adelia, shine within it, but the book wasn’t meant to be that sort of mystery. Still, I wish one of the interviewers who got a chance to chat with her (or the person she was when she wasn’t being Ariana Franklin) had asked about it. Was it a conscious decision? Did she mean to set the characters up this way, or did it happen because the setting demanded it?

Ahh, if only… if only…

But one thing I did find interesting: of all the online reviews I read, I’m the only one who picked up on that. Makes me wonder if I’m seeing something that’s really not there, or if I’m just an overeducated woman with nothing better to do…

Scary thought, either way.