I believe reading is one of the most important things anyone can do, adults and children alike. Reading opens up worlds beyond that in which we live. It expands the mind and teaches us things we don't know. Reading keeps the mind alive and alert, thereby keeping the body and spirit alive. There is also a certain pleasure in curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee on a rainy day. I'm going to try to review current books, as well as books which many people may not have read, but which I feel may well be worth reading.
The Girl With the Botticelli Eyes
by Herbert Lieberman
(St. Martins Press)
Published February, 1998
Paperback 368 pages
This book is a thriller with art, insanity and murder thrown in and tossed like a salad. The main character is Michael Manship, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has planned a one-of-a-kind exhibit at the Met of Sando Botticelli and has spent many years acquiring his works. The book takes you from New York to Venice to Florence to Rome and back again as you follow Manship on his quest to acquire rare Botticelli paintings and sketches. But someone doesn't want the Met to acquire these items. He'll go to any length to stop Manship, killing people and destroying priceless Botticelli works in the process. One of things I enjoyed about the book is that it takes place in the familiar surrounding of the Met Museum. Many of us have been there at one time or another, and it gives the book a homey feeling. This one is worth reading.
by James A. Michener
by Random House
Paperback 1,078 pages
This book is over thirty years old, and is truly a treasure. Don't let the daunting size of it stop you. The book is full of history, told from the point of view of the people who actually lived during the specific time periods and the archeologists who are excavating the area in 1964. It tells the entire history of the Judaism and begins in 9831 B.C. detailing the lives of cavemen-type people living in a small town near Galilee. Every subsequent chapter brings you closer to the modern day, detailing the influence of Christianity, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and through to the Middle East Conflict and World War II. As you read each chapter, you actually feel as though you are living in this town centuries ago, feeling what these people feel as they try to live peacefully in the face of constant danger and war. All they really want, generation after generation, is to be allowed to practice their religion in peace. Each chapter brings you to the present time with a short view of what is going on at the archeological site. (It almost feels like an intrusion!)
I would highly recommend this book for any one who likes to read historical fiction.