Saturday, November 26, 2011

Best of 2011 Countdown: #29


The Language of Flowers
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Ballantine Books

This debut novel weaves past and present to tell the story of a young girl named Victoria who has spent her entire life in the foster care system In and out of thirty-two different homes (the author is a foster
parent) she is to say the least....damaged.  Cut off from the world and homeless at the age of eighteen, Vicoria's only solace are flowers. Her connection with flowers is her gift and the only way of communication she can muster. Soon discovered by a well-known florist, she begins to touch people's lives with her talent. Probably the most commercial book on my list, this is a perfect choice for book groups. Themes include motherhood, the foster care system, homelessness, redemption, and of course a history of the meaning of flowers.  A very cool touch is the flower dictionary included as an appendix in the book.

In many ways this is a perfect book for Liz to read.  It takes us back to Victorian times when we would rely on flowers to say just how we felt; we never had to speak the words. For example, Liz would give me red roses. Lots and lots of red roses. And I of course would give  her a single hibiscus. [I actually prefer the common thistle.]

Link to dictionary:

The Snowman
Jo Nesbo

What I love about this book: 
1. It's a great police procedural thriller.
2. The crimes are creepy and unnerving.
3. I like snow.
4. The detective's name is Harry Hole.

Imagine the joy I take in presenting this book to a room full of readers.  I get to say "Harry Hole" over and over and over, and then giggle like an idiot.  The Snowman is a great read, and a strong follow-up read for all of you who read the Stieg Larsson trilogy.  The story begins when a mother and son find a snowman in their yard, but facing the house and seeming to stare in.  That night, the son wakes to find his mother gone, but the snowman has some of her possessions.  Then women begin to show up...decapitated.  Creepy, right?  Harry Hole (heh) is a fun character with whom to tag along as he works to track down the killer.  It doesn't hurt, either, that Jo Nesbo is a bit of a hunk.  I wonder if he's single?

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