Category Archives: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Lit Legend Leonard and More


There are plenty of reading events going on in the Detroit area this week so be sure to see my last post for information. In addition, a few extra points of interest have come to my attention that are definitely worth sharing.

Tune in to this NPR interview Elmore Leonard, At Home In Detroit by Noah Adams to hear from our very own local literary legend.

The Book Beat has scheduled a signing by R & B legend Andre Williams on March 20, 2010 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Williams’ Sweets and Other Stories is a “tough and gritty collection of tales of tragedy and perseverance from the mean streets of Chicago and beyond.” This is the first fiction effort from Andre Williams who performed on some singles for Detroit’s Fortune Records in the 50’s and 60’s.*

Check out this week’s update on  NPR’s What We’re Reading which features The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, the second book in Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce detective series. It won’t appeal to all, but this eleven-year-old girl who made her character debut in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie completely won me over. You can find NLR’s brief review by clicking here.

The Orange Prize for Fiction longlist was announced for 2010 and you’ll never believe who was on it? Yes, Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall – what a shocker! Kidding. I actually bought this book back in December and now feel officially compelled to read it. There has been so much noise surrounding this title, I was waiting for it to die down a bit before I cracked the spine. Is it hype or is it just that good?

*Information courtesy of Book Beat site.

-Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters!

-Post by Megan Shaffer

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Filed under Alan Bradley, Authors, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Whimsy

Angels and Sweet, Sweet Pie

There are two books that I recently finished which are listed below with my brief review attached.  They are newer titles that currently sit on or very near the latest best seller lists. Friends will often ask me if I have read a particular title, or for the suggestion of a solid personal or book club read. Because it takes a lot of time and thought to do a detailed review of each book, I am posting these “quickies” for your reference and perusal.

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I did not read The Shadow of the Wind, Zafon’s first novel which was a biggie with the book clubs. However, if it is anything like The Angel’s Game, I think I’ll pass. This bizarre mystery reminds me more of a Harry Potter meets Dante’s Inferno, and seemed to me a poor attempt at chills and thrills.

Dating back to the early 1900’s, The Angel’s Game spins the tale of David Martin, a struggling author who takes on an eerie writing project which ultimately throws him into the depths of his own personal hell. An abundance of dark alleys, secret doors, and hidden rooms left me both confused and exhausted as it stretched out over the span of its 531 pages. The word plodding comes to mind and a finger must be pointed at Lucia Graves for what is, in my opinion, a weak translation. I find it hard to believe Ruiz-Zafon’s original version would have a hooker in the 1900’s ask someone to “invite me in for a snack.”

*Take a pass on this one

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Unless some sweetness at the bottom lie,

who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?

This book is so different, so engaging, and so much fun that I can’t stop suggesting it to people.  After a stretch of hum-drum fiction, I was pleasantly caught off guard by this Debut Dagger Award winner. I’m typically not a mystery reader, but this is not your average mystery as it holds one of the most plucky, winsome main characters I have ever met.

Flavia de Luci is only eleven but trust me when I tell you, she’ll keep you busy for 373 straight pages. An aspiring chemist, Flavia’s intellectual capabilities might be a bit of a stretch, but author Alan Bradley had me clearly convinced that this girl can do it all. As Flavia dukes it out with her two sisters, Bradley’s hot, literary knowledge tucks itself neatly into the family discord adding serious prose to the dialogue. The biggest treat… life through the eyes of an eleven-year-old.

*This witty, sharp, and charming novel is a must. A quick read, I would suggest it as a great personal choice and an entertainer for any book club.

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Filed under Alan Bradley, Authors, Book Reviews, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Quickie Reviews, The Angel's Game, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie