June 26th, 2011

Dead Dog Cat

#46, 47

Over the last few days, I finished reading two books:

I've read a number of what amounts to cookbooks for alcoholic beverages recently, sort of how-to make your own, but the simplest and most enticing of the lot I just finished. It was Cordials from Your Kitchen: Easy, Elegant Liqueurs You Can Make & Give by Pattie Vargas & Rich Gulling. Many of the concoctions sound delicious; I'm anxious to give a couple a try, when next I have an afternoon or so free...not to mention the necessary hardware (though with forestcats canning penchant, I'm pretty sure we have everything we could need).

The second book was an SF novel by Allen Steele. It's the starting point for a rather long series of novels that he's been producing for nearly the last decade, called Coyote, about Earth's first attempt at an interstellar colony. There's a lot of interesting issues this novel brings up, and they don't all come together at the end, clearly setting up for the follow-on book. In this case, a sufficient number of issues ARE finished by the novel's end, and I found it overall to be very satisfying, so I look forward to getting to the next book of the series. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, I think I'll move it up a bit in the to-be-read stack...

Book 56: The Daughters of Juarez by Teresa Rodriguez

Book 56: The Daughters of Juarez: A True Story of Serial Murder South of the Border.
Author: Teresa Rodriguez with Diana Montané and Lisa Pulitzer, 2007.
Genre: Non-Fiction. True Crime.
Other Details: Hardback. 336 pages.

Since 1993 the city of Juárez, Mexico, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, has been the site a horrific crime wave against women and girls. Consisting of kidnappings, rape, mutilation, and murder, most of the atrocities have involved young, slender, and poor victims. This has fuelled the premise that these murders are not random. As for who is behind the crimes themselves, the answer remains unknown. Teresa Rodriguez, a journalist working for Univision (the leading Spanish language network in the USA), had been investigating and reporting on these crimes for eight years before writing this harrowing account. She continues this work as well as to draw attention to violence against women worldwide.

After reading '2666' I had wanted to read something non-fictional about the murders in Juarez that had inspired the novel. By chance my local library had this book in its True Crime section.

I had described Roberto Bolaño's fictional account as a litany of death that shocked me to the core. This is a cooler, more measured account of the crimes, focusing mainly on the victims and their families. It was shocking in a different way and much of that was linked to the disinterest exhibited by the police and other authorities over these deaths and their attempts to discredit the victims.

The implied corruption within officialdom along with various miscarriages of justice, which also featured in '2666', here was somehow worse because this wasn't fiction. A few times there are statements made by officials that the families of victims and activists are "blowing things out of proportion". I found it hard to get my head around such statements as I am sure anyone reading it would. Overall this a powerful account even if a pessimistic one as the murders continue even into 2011 with an official body count of 465 and thousands more women and girls reported missing.

Teresa Rodriguez's Home Page.

The Juarez Project - a grass roots organisation supporting the women of Juarez.
Eric in Robe

No. 36 for 2011

Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Rating: 4/5
Book: 36/50 (72% completed)
Pages: 947 pgs
Total Pages: 14,476/15,000 pages (96.50% completed)
Version: Book
Next up: Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

This was a good book. Long but good. I still prefer Outlander over this book but I still very much enjoyed the story and the characters. I still love Jamie. Every woman needs a man like him.

I did feel that parts of the book could have been cut. Some scenes didn't do anything for the plot. I also didn't like that the story kept changing from first-person point of view to third person point of view. I found that it disrupted the flow of the book.

Good book. Definitely can't wait to read more!

xposted to 50bookchallenge, 15000pages and bookworm84

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  • cat63

Book 35 for 2011

The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry. 425 pages

Second volume of Stephen Fry's autobiography. I enjoy autobiographies particularly, because I'm incurably nosy.

I also rather like Fry's writing style and self-deprecating manner, so I enjoyed this account of his life from university to just before the launch of A Bit of Fry and Laurie.