A guilty pleasure
The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
August 14, 2021
Do you ever feel like choosing a guilty pleasure book? I don’t mean something hot or risqué but rather, an unpraised book, a book that reviewers rake over the coals, a book readers give only one star and post a long drawn out line of complaints in the comment section. Many books are not valued by literary giants like The New York Times or touted by celebrities. Do you ever want to read them and see for yourself what they might have to offer?
Sometimes you may just want to read something to relax in, a book with which you have no expectations, one that you don’t want to critique or criticize. A story to disappear into with no judgment, from you or others. Those are the books I wanted to read for this review. A random selection of books having little fanfare, books not at the top of lists. I wanted to see what stories other authors took their time to write and share.
I started with “The Tree of Knowledge” by Daniel G. Miller. This was no “Da Vinci Code” like Dan Brown delivered. But honestly, this book opened an unexpected doorway. Imagine there is a secret code that can help a person see into the future. Impossible? Well, Princeton mathematics professor Albert Puddles along with his young graduate assistant and his elder mentor bring the reader into the world of riddles, brain teasers and cyphers by introducing The Game Tree. The Game Tree is a process used by great chess masters, projecting chess moves forward in their minds to find the possibilities, flaws and dangers of each action taken. We find in “The Tree of Knowledge” that same concept used to project moves into other future endeavors, like breaking into a bank. And so the chase begins. Because an important book that reveals deeper possibilities of The Game Tree is stolen. In the wrong hands, this book could result in attaining ultimate power that would very likely be misused.
As a teenager, I loved gothic novels filled with rich barons and needy maidens residing in dark castle-like mansions full of misery and mystery. “Forgotten and Remembered” by Bree Wolfe is part of the Love Second Chance Tales of Lords and Ladies series. Set in 1801 England, the young woman Rosabel, orphaned and brought up in the home of her aunt and uncle, is told she will marry Graham Astor, the Duke of Kensington. He is a deeply brooding man, much like Heathcliff in “Wuthering Heights,” who has his own set of anguish and despair. Will Rosabel be able to calm his inner demons and help his young daughter Georgianna?
Leap to 1923 in “Murder on the SS Rosa” by Lee Strauss, as the young widow and former British Agent Ginger Gold travels the Atlantic with her companion Nurse Higgins and her Boston Terrier Bull. What was to be a leisurely trip turns deadly when the captain is murdered and cast into a half empty pickle barrel. Inspector Basil Reed takes over the investigation with Ginger helping, or interfering, in the mix. Because, there is definitely a murderer on board.
I chose “The Car Share,” a novel written originally in French by Zoe Brisby, for its humor. Alex is told by a doctor to take a trip for debilitating depression. Advertising for a ride share companion to split the driving costs from somewhere in France to Brussels, Max answers Alex’s online ad and they plan a time for pickup. Max, waiting in front of a retirement home is looking for a young girl to drive up. Alex drives up to the address, surprised it is a retirement home, looking for a man named Max. Both Alex and Max appear to be late. An old lady with purple hair and a suitcase approaches Alex’s car and inquires if he is lost. Alex asks the old lady if she needs help since her ride did not show up. Turns out that Alex is not a girl but a very depressed young man planning to drive to Brussels and Max is not a man but a sassy and opinionated 90-year-old Maxine with purple hair, wanting to die in Brussels. I haven’t spoiled the beginning as this happens within the first few pages and there is so much more that occurs in their travel. Actually, what I surmised to be just a light and silly read turned out to have a very poignant ending. I won’t spoil that.
These four books that I highlighted are merely a small representation of books people usually ignore, while choosing the big names promoted by book sellers instead. But if you are in the mood to read something different, to take a chance on the unknown and to dive in not expecting the next best seller, give a look around at the bottom of the lists for books that reviewers may have missed or disregarded but which are perfect for your own guilty pleasure. Enjoy!
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.