Mini Reviews: Gourmet Rhapsody, This Book Is Overdue, and The Racketeer

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Gourmet Rhapsody
by Muriel Barbery
At least half of all of my reading is done through audio books, and this one is well done. Having multiple people to voice the characters helps keep conversations straight.
The book revolves around Pierre Arthens, a food critic, who is on his death bed and desperately trying to recall a specific meal. It's told mainly through memories and through various characters' points of view. It’s a small book and I was glad for that. Pierre’s narrow, selfish view of the world would have been hard to handle for much longer. I kept picturing him as the dour food critic from Ratatouille while I was reading. For someone who is so skilled at dissecting each individual element of the food he eats, Pierre is ridiculously self-centered and oblivious when it comes to his family.
BOTTOM LINE: The foodie aspects of the book were my favorite. The rest of it felt like it only skimmed the surface of the relationships.
This Book Is Overdue!
How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
by Marilyn Johnson
As someone who loves nonfiction and librarians, I thought this one would be a no-brainer for me. Unfortunately it’s such a disjointed mishmash of information it feels more like a Wikipedia page than a cohesive book. Johnson seems to have written anecdotes about things she found as she research librarians without having a real goal or overarching message for the book. At one point she discusses, at length, the way librarians use second life. It just never came together in any cohesive way for me.
BOTTOM LINE: Skip it, I can’t think of one substantive thing I learned from the book.
The Racketeer
by John Grisham
In high school and early college I blew through about 20 Grisham books. The plots tend to be pretty similar, so at times they blended together in my mind, indistinguishable from each other. It’s been almost a decade since I picked up one of his novels, so when I saw this one on the exchange shelf at our hotel in Fiji I decided to give it a shot.
It’s definitely a Grisham novel. One man up against a big company, or in this case, the government. Malcom Bannister is a lawyer who is sent to prison when he unknowingly gets caught up in a client’s money laundering business. He spends his time helping other prisoners fight their convictions and wishing for a day when he will be released. When a judge is murdered he sees his opportunity for freedom.
The predictability level is pretty high, but it’s an incredibly readable novel with some good twists and turns. Give me a day on the beach with a book like this and I’ll enjoy it. It was a good beach read and before I left I’d popped it back on the hotel’s shelf for the next vacationer to enjoy.
BOTTOM LINE: For me was a solid middle-of-the-pack book from Grisham. His bests include The Pelican Brief, The Firm and A Time to Kill and his worsts include The Summons and The King of Torts. If you’re craving a legal thriller, grab on of his early books and just enjoy.


Andi said...

Awww, I'm sorry This Book is Overdue! didn't work for you. It's a long-time fave of mine, but it is quite disjointed in that it tackles LOTS of topics. I can't help but think it's probably also quite dated since I remember one particular essay on the ins and outs of Second Life. Not even sure that's still a thing.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Barbery's writing. What did you thin k about The Elegance of the Hedgehog?

Carol said...

I think your mini reviews are a really great idea. Sometimes I don't know quite what to do with my quick reads. I don't want to write a full essay and want to move on to the next thing, but don't want to just toss them aside either. Almost everything I read deserves a little pondering and at least a little paragraph. I think I remember reading the "The Firm" but that is about the extent of my Grisholm reading. Thanks so much for sharing your mini reviews!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Andi - I didn't realize it was a bit older! It did feel dated and the Second Life chapter went on for forever!

wordsandpeace - I wasn't a huge fan. I enjoyed the writing, but the plot didn't work as well for me.

Carol - Thanks! I feel the same way. Sometimes I don't feel like I have too much to say about a book, but I still want to remember what I thought of it.