Bucky F*cking Dent by David Duchovny. This book's quirky title called to me from the library shelf. Then, I noticed the author name. Yes, it IS that David Duchovny. I admit I immediately flipped to the inside back jacket author photo to verify. Then I read the front inside blurb, which sounded interesting enough so with me it came. It took me a few chapters to really get into, but then I was hooked. Turns out, Duchovny has crafted a father–son relationship story with a lot of heart and richness that I really enjoyed – plus I learned who Bucky Dent was.
Foul Deeds by Linda Moore. A fast-paced action/detective/murder mystery set in Halifax, this novel also has the added charm (for me at least) of its protagonist being a script coach for a volunteer theatre production of Hamlet. As she unpacks some of the dense language for the actors, she also unravels some convoluted information that becomes important in the case she's working on. It makes for an enjoyable layer to the story. There's quite a lot packed into this novel, and I'd like to read more of these characters. There is a sequel, s I'll have to track down a copy sometime.
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. Though written in 1897, this play takes place roughly 150 years prior very, very loosely based on the life of the real Cyrano de Bergerac. Some day, I want to see it staged, because the stage directions and stage business are written so elaborately that I simply can't imagine how it could be executed as written – especially in the days before a full-on helicopter or what have you would be used on a Broadway stage. Anyway! The play made me laugh and I fully enjoyed it. I just looked up any movie adaptions. The Gerard Depardieu version from 1990 gets 100% fresh rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Wow. That might be worth watching. But I still want to see it on stage!
Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally Andrew. I was super-charmed by this novel. Set in rural South Africa, it's a bit of a mystery crossed with a romance and a comedy and a cookbook and a travelogue. The main character is Maria, called Tannie – the Afrikaaner term meaning "aunt" and denoting respect for an older lady – by her friends and neighbours, who writes a recipe column for the local paper. With budget cuts, she soon needs to expand it to be both an advice and recipe column. The combination, like everything in this novel, is a delight. It really gives quite a wonderful impression of South Africa.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. Then along comes Trevor Noah as quite the antidote to the feel-good bubble of the previous novel. His book offers a series of personal memoir-ish essays of his life growing up in South Africa as the child of a black mother and white father, when interracial sexual relationships were illegal. His birth, as the title indicates, was evidence of a crime. Each chapter is a self-contained story, jumping back and forth through time, some seemingly (slightly) contradicting others. They feel very much like the products of an individual's memory and perspective. Fascinating, sometimes funny, heartbreaking, frequently horrifying. South Africa under Apartheid was shameful. South Africa in the years following Apartheid was utterly broken. The stories Noah tells in this book are all about his childhood and young adulthood. I hope someday he chooses to write about the journey from there to where he is now. If it's half as fascinating as his childhood, it will be a page turner. (Although for his sake, I hope it's been a lot more boring.)