Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Quick Reviews: Light and Fluffy

Neither of these took more than a couple of days to read. Although they are fluff, both were amusing fluff and sufficiently entertaining to keep me reading to see what would happen next.

Food critic Marc Basset is known for merciless but clever restaurant reviews. Then one day a chef commits suicide after reading Basset's review of his cooking. When Basset apologizes to the widow he has an epiphany. There is a wonderful release from a sincere apology that is sincerely accepted. Soon Basset is apologizing to everyone he can remember ever wronging. This leads him to a job at the United Nation's new apology division where he finds himself apologizing to countries on behalf of his nation. Lots of food talk as well as an endlessly inventive tale that makes you wonder where all this apologizing will end. I never laughed out loud but I was amused the whole way through. Tip: read the copyright page and see the apologies interlace in the legalese. Very clever.

I picked this book up after reading in the DMN religion section that the series was enjoyed by real-life pastors. Written by an actual Quaker minister, Home to Harmony is actually a set of short stories connected by the narrator, Quaker minister Sam Gardner. He enjoys nothing more than the peace of his small hometown, Harmony, and is practical enough to see the quirks and foibles of the other town characters for what they are. This is reminiscent in a way of the Mitford books by Jan Karon but is told without the sappy sweetness that can be cloying in that series. Prairie Home Companion listeners will also find these tales to be a familiar style but Gulley writes these in a way that I found much more readable than when Garrison Keillor attempts to jot down his narratives. I don't usually enjoy short stories but these also left me wanting more and pulled me through the book. Sweet, gentle, and with an easy to swallow moral at the end of each chapter.

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