How incredibly cute

is my new niece?

Apparently her daddy stinks :D


2010 Books 3, 4, and 5 - Vacation Reads

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
I took a gamble on this book because it got great reviews; I read as little as possible about the plot because I like surprises. I am glad I took the chance, because this read pushed me into territory I would not have chosen for myself had I known all the details. I don't want to give away too much about what makes this book really unique, but Mitchell really proves himself to be a very creative and versatile scribe. There were times when I would begin a new chapter and would find the change in tone so jarring that I was tempted to skip over passages, but I found that any distaste that I felt for style was overcome by the compelling plot. This one is a definitely plus.

44 Scotland Street - Alexander McCall Smith
I picked this one up due to the popularity of this author and his various series. 44 Scotland Street sweeps you up into a world of mini plots, somewhat interrelated, that remind me of a literary version of Seinfeld. While this wouldn't be my first choice in reading material, it really scratched my itch for a lightweight beach read from a genre other than vampire fiction. It wasn't the best thing I've read, but it wasn't so bad that I would cross off the possibility of picking up the next book in this particular series.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith
Same motivation for reading this one as I had for 44 Scotland Street - I wanted to see what the buzz was all about. I found this to be a much more enjoyable read than 44, and have actually picked up the second book in the series to continue on. I like the very vivid sensual information about the towns, countryside, and individuals involved in the stories. While this is a book about a detective, it doesn't follow the usual pattern of suspense, violence, sex, and action. That may sound boring, but I find the style of this book a relief from the cliche - it's full of sentiment, humor, and the gentle pride and wisdom of its main players, while at the same time keeping the reader engaged in figuring out the individual cases.

Of the three books read on my trip, I think I have definitely been inspired to read more of David Mitchell's work, and McCall Smith's further detective series installments.