SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #33 & #34

Book #33 was "Bluebeard: The Life and Times of Gilles de Rais" by Leonard Wolf. This is the story of the real historical serial killer from the 1400s who inspired the myth of Bluebeard -- the nobleman who kills his wives and keeps them in a locked room in his castle. In reality, de Rais started out as a normal, if exceptionally pious, young nobleman who was the companion of Joan of Arc. In his later years, he became a serial torturer and killer of young children, mostly beautiful young boys. The only reason I read this book is that I helped a friend move and was invited to raid their stash of books, and this looked interesting. The writing wasn't quite what I expected. Wolf injects himself into the book quite often, telling you his own theories and opinions in the first person. He's also quite coy about de Rais' crimes until near the end of the book. Stil, it was an interesting insight into European politics at that time and how a nobleman could get away with mulitple muders over the course of more than a decade. It wasn't a bad read, but I might recommend that anyone interested in this part of history look up some of the newer books written on de Rais since Wolf published this in 1980.

Book #34 was "Garlic and Sapphires" by Ruth Reichl. Reichl is the former editor of Gourmet magazine and was, for several years, the restaurant critic at the New York Times. I love the recipes, I love the reviews, but my favorite part is the characters she creates to fool the restaurants. New York restaurateurs know she's coming and warn all their employees to watch for her, so in order to fool them and not get extra-special service just because she's a critic, she dons several different disguises and becomes those characters for the night. She learns a lot about herself through becoming these different people, and eventually she decides she needs to get back into the kitchen. I found this book an entirely delightful read and would recommend it highly, especially to anyone who especially enjoys good writing about food.

1. Blue Light [fiction]- Walter Mosley
2. Titus Alone [fiction]- Mervyn Peake
3. "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" [non-fiction]- Beverly Tatum
4. Never Let Me Go [fiction]- Kazuo Ishiguro
5. The Jehovah Contract [fiction]- Victor Koman
6. When the Phone Rings, My Bed Shakes: The Memoirs of a Deaf Doctor [non-fiction/memoir]- Philip Zazove
7. The Foreign Student [fiction]- Susan Choi
8. V for Vendetta [fiction/graphic novel]- Alan Moore and David Lloyd
9. City at the End of Time [fiction]- Greg Bear (unabridged audiobook)
10. Figuring: The Joy of Numbers [non-fiction]- Shakuntala Devi
11. Towing Jehovah [fiction]- James Morrow.
12. Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just [non-fiction]- Keith R. Manning
13. The Finster Effect [fiction]- Wednesday Lee Friday
14. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America [non-fiction]- Ronald Takaki.
15. The autobiography of my mother [fiction]- Jamaica Kincaid
16. Death du Jour [fiction]- Kathy Reichs (unabridged audiobook)
17. What Is My Cat Thinking?: The Essential Guide to Understanding Pet Behavior [non-fiction]- Gwen Bailey
18. God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything [non-fiction]- Christopher Hitchens (unabridged audiobook)
19. History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos [non-fiction]- Luis Francia
20. Feynman [non-fiction/graphic memoir]- Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick.
21. The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson & the Olympians series) [fiction]- Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
22. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World [fiction]- Haruki Murakami
23. Slowing Down to the Speed of Life [non-fiction]- Richard Carlson and Joseph Bailey
24. Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors [non-fiction]- Lizzie Collingham
25. Frankenstein [fiction]- Mary Shelley (unabridged audiobook)
26. Empty Cradle: The Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson [fiction]- Emmy Jackson
27. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil [non-fictioni]- John Berendt
28. Lucky [non-fiction/memoir]- Alice Sebold
29. Soon I Will Be Invincible [fiction]- Austin Grossman
30. For a Few Demons More (Book 5 of "The Hollows" series) [fiction]- Kim Harrison (unabridged audiobook)
31. American Gods [fiction]- Neil Gaiman
32. The Kitchen God's Wife [fiction]- Amy Tan


  • Book #14: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

    North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book opens with the heroine, Margaret Hale, being uprooted from her idyllic…

  • Book 5- Hamnet

    5. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell. This was the February pick for the book club I'm in. I finished it pretty quickly, it was hard to put down. It's a…

  • January 2021 - Books 1 to 6

    1. The Long Way Home by Louise Penny Inspector Gamache is now retired in Three Pines when he’s recruited to help one of his friends find her…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded