Although the Book Lovers SIG did not meet regularly during the COVID pandemic years, this Mension article is perhaps one of the first attempts to provide a review of a few of the latest reads during those months.
~ Mid-America Mensa’s web editor Delmont Hadley
Truth be told, I have spent much of my time under COVID-19 reading about and watching the latest about the virus and ignoring anything that resembled a book. It’s just in the past few weeks that I’ve been able to read again, all fiction, all escapist. Here are reviews of a few of my latest reads.
Quietly in Their Sleep (aka The Death of Faith) is the sixth volume in Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti series. She has been cranking out a book a year since 1992; I am still in her early books (yes, I like to read series in order). It makes for a bit of time travel, as the author often brings in subjects that were hot topics at the time of writing. Quietly in Their Sleep brings up misbehavior in the secretive Catholic secular institute Opus Dei and the priest teaching religion at the school Brunetti’s children attend. Brunetti starts investigating a suspicion that nursing home residents who left money to the home may have had a push into the grave. A lot of the investigation feels like filler. (How many weird families can Brunetti interview until the plot begins to focus?) The descriptions of Venice and its community are enjoyable, as are the family interactions. If you like investigations in foreign locales, I would recommend this book and series.
I’ve also read what I would call a “tween” book series about the three musketeers by Stuart Gibbs. The three books are The Last Musketeer, Traitor’s Chase and Double Cross. Gibbs writes books with boy (about age 12–14) protagonists in odd places. The Musketeers series includes time travel to 17th century France, searching for lost parents, and defeating the bad guy who is trying to change the future. In Gibbs’ intro he writes that he knew nothing about 17th century France or fencing/sword fighting when he started the series. Whatever Gibbs learned, it was not enough to engage me — a fencer, former high school French student and lover of the original The Three Musketeers. The books are mostly action with brief spots of reflection and tween romance. All three can easily be read in an afternoon. They are not nearly as gritty as some of the other young adult books that have been reviewed at Book Lovers. ~Cynthia Heller