Robin’s March Book Reviews

The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez. A friend recommended a different book, which wasn’t immediately available, so I checked this one out instead. It has been a while since I was so engrossed in a book. I read it in two days (and it is 270 pages). The main character (Antonio Yammara, a young lawyer) tells the story, but into it is woven the story of a man he meets. Columbian politics, a young American Peace Corps worker….I guess it grabbed me because it could have been me. Rate: 4.5

The Quiet Time by Dimitri Keriotis. You will read more about Dimitri in a blog interview. I met him at a workshop, initially attracted to his book of short stories and then attending a break out session which he taught (story arcs). An aura of calm and kindness surrounds this author. His stories are reflective of human nature, the hidden components, and took me to an emotional level I like in a short story. Quick absorption, cultural interest and human revelations. Loved them. Rate: 4.0

Don’t Try to Find Me by Holly Brown. I read a post by Holly Brown on a website I follow and decided to read her work (she is prolific). Of interest to me is the fact she is a Marriage Family Therapist. This book is very “genre” and seems to follow a pattern I have read before. Not a whole lot of surprise, and well…at times kind of over the top in the underlying psychological messages. I was a bit surprised that Brown would write about impropriety with a psychiatrist…led me to believe this might have been something that really happened and she needed to write about it! Rate: 3.0

Engineering Eden by Jordan Fisher Smith. Yes, I have strong feelings about never reading non-fiction. However, I had read Smith’s Nature Noir years ago so when I ran into him at the Sierra Writers Conference I decided to buy a book (although even that was very last minute, he was packing the books away before I decided to buy one!) LOVED this book. I’m not sure how he does it, but Smith can take facts—this one is about the evolving “naturalization” and protection in National Parks—and make them into a page turner. There are several underlying stories and themes. One is a grizzly attack and lawsuit, but there are others, including the political aspects, the training and conflict of scientists and more. Of course I am a huge fan of National Parks and have spent time in all the parks he writes about. I was even captured by his Afterword and Notes in which he tells about his research experience. Well done. Rate: 4.5

Photo of Roberta Martinez (Mom, to me) Yosemite, circa 1956.

And a more recent road trip to Bryce. I’m shooting for visits to ALL the US and Canadian National Parks.