Sunday, December 16, 2012

305-307 (2012 #50-#52). Three Quick Reviews

I'm so behind on my reviews that I need to make a few of them brief.

The Lincoln Conspiracy: A Novel, by Timothy O'Brien, is an interesting historical thriller with quirky characters, some of whom were real.  It tells one version of the conspiracy theory around the assassination of Lincoln.   I enjoyed the well-researched setting (time and place), but had trouble buying the far-fetched plot and dealing with all the violence.  Nevertheless, I think this book, which I received as an advance reader's edition (with a generic cover, not the one pictured), is definitely worth a re-read.
Amanda Bennett, then editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, writes movingly about her husband, Terrance Foley (an expert on Asia and agriculture) and his battle with cancer, in The Cost of Hope: A Memoir, that also takes a look at the cost of medicine.  While Amanda and Terrance's story was touching, I wish there had been a little more focus on the latter.  (Some of her conclusions are summarized in an article incorrectly titled an excerpt, at Philly.com.) It's pretty clear that the financial costs are staggering, but coupled with the emotional costs - the cost of hoping - the spending may still be worthwhile.
The title and the cover art for the realistic fiction The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving aren't attractive.  Nevertheless, I am glad I listened to this audiobook, written by Jonathan Evison, a feel-good road-trip story with a lot to say about the nature of coming to terms with adversity, death and grief.  I was able to figure out pretty quickly what had happened to main character Ben's family, but that did not detract from the plot, thanks to interesting, amusing, quirky characters.  Narrator Jeff Woodson is excellent at bringing them all to life.

© Amanda Pape - 2012

[All three books were received through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.  The audiobook and hardbound (Cost of Hope) will be donated to my university and local public libraries respectively.  The advance reader edition will be passed on to someone else to enjoy.]

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