Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ruminations from an Unkempt Mind (arts & entertainment)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Ruminations from an Unkempt Mind, by C. Parker

WEB ADDRESS: http://ruminationsfromanunkemptmind.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: An eclectic mix of everything from book reviews to recipes, movie and television reviews to crochet patterns, as well as ruminations and articles on everything from legal issues to slice-of-life essays; this 1-2 times weekly published blog is sure to have something for everyone

MY REVIEW: This is an enjoyable blog, in which the author writes on a variety of subjects. She writes well, and covers her subjects thoroughly.

Highly recommended.

Sample post
Book Review: The Lodger by Marie Belloc-Lowndes

Anyone who has run across my posts in the Kindle forums is probably already aware that I plug the book "The Lodger". Mercilessly. I plug this book so often that one might think that I wrote it, or at least that I have a published edition of it for sale in the Kindle store. I don’t. With the way that I plug this book, one might also think that it is the best book that I have ever read. It wasn’t. What it was, was the most surprising book that I ever read. Not the storyline, don’t worry, no spoilers here, it was just the book itself that was surprising.

You see, it was the first book that I read on my first Kindle. I wanted to take advantage of all of the free public domain books that were available to me, and I selected one at random. Well, not quite at random. I searched for the keywords “Jack the Ripper”. I don’t really know why, it was just the first thing that popped into my mind (should that worry me?). This book came up as a public domain book, by an author of whom I’d never heard, and there was a free edition available. So, I downloaded it. And I read it. And I loved it.

I have said that this was not the best book that I’d ever read, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable, five-star read. When I downloaded it (wirelessly, for the first time to a Kindle, which was exciting enough), I expected to read this old book that would be interesting enough and not too boring. I mean, really, it was almost a century old, and I’d never heard of the author. Sometime during the course of my life, especially when I was working on a degree in Literature, I had at least heard of EVERY good author from that period, surely. Right? Wrong.

This book did not turn out to be a somewhat antiquated, only a little boring, read. It turned out to be a page-turner. So much so, that my husband started saying things like, “I’m not sure that this whole Kindle thing was a good idea” because I was giving him so little attention. He’s learned to cope with that now.

I’ve explained about my personal experience with this book, but what you really want to know is more about the book itself. I aim to please:

This book is set in London in the time of the Whitechapel Murders. The main characters are a middle-aged couple who own a rooming house. They rent out a couple of rooms to a young man whom they’ve never met prior to his becoming their lodger. The suspense of this story comes from their suspicion that he may indeed be Jack the Ripper. So, is he?

No, of course he isn’t. Oh, wait, yes he is. Not really, I’m just kidding. Or am I?

The fact of the matter is that it isn’t relevant. Well, I’m sure that it is to the middle-aged couple, but it’s not really relevant to the reader. What is relevant in this book is the couple’s CONCERN that he might be. In the end, we find out the truth one way or the other, but that is not the interesting part. To be honest, it wouldn’t really matter to the reader whether or not we ever know. It’s the suspense, the agony, the suspicion, and the excitement that matters. That’s what the story is about. “Whodunit” doesn’t matter; what matters is how the main characters feel about it. This is what Lowndes does unbelievably well.

So, I highly recommend that you check out “The Lodger” for a suspenseful, pleasure read that won’t cost you a dime.

--Book Review: The Lodger by Marie Belloc-Lowndes
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