14 January 2007

Books Read Since December 30

• The Trouble With Magic
• A Charmed Death
both by Madelyn Alt
If you are a police procedural mystery lover, you will probably avoid; these are "cozies" that take place in the Midwest, where our heroine Maggie O'Neill finds a new direction (and new job) in life when she steps into Enchantments, a gift store that belongs to Felicity Dow, a down-to-earth practicing witch. In the course of the books Maggie helps solve the murder of Felicity's sister and then the murder of a popular high-school student, while she discovers her own esoteric powers.

• Walt Disney by Neal Gabler. Middle line, 600 page (the other 200 pages are appendix and index) bio of Disney: doesn't gloss his bad points like Bob Thomas, doesn't go overboard like Marc Eliot. Gabler's subtext is Disney's need for control.

• Christmas Remembered by Tomie dePaola, the children's book illustrator. Warm stories about memorable Christmases in his life; nothing remarkable, but a couple very humorous, especially the story of "Nana-Fall River."

Library books finished over the holiday: The Story of Santa Klaus [sic], William Walsh's 1909 effort to explain how tall austere St. Nicholas and other Christmas gift-givers became the American Santa Claus; The Book of Christmas Folklore, Tristam P. Coffin, a wry retelling of Christmas customs; Celebrating Christmas Around the World, short to long tales of Christmas in different countries edited by Herbert Wernecke (not sure what this book is supposed to be—it was published by a religious press and about half the stories are about missionaries celebrating in different lands, but there are some different pieces as well, including a humorous Reader's Digest-like offering about Danish husbands at Christmas, and the chapter from Hans Brinker; or the Silver Skates about St. Nicholas); and Christmas the World Over by Daniel J. Foley, again, chapters about Christmas celebrations in different locations, including Japan and China.

Presently in the middle of Thunderstruck by Eric Larson (Devil in the White City, Isaac's Storm).

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