I finished Anna and the Dragon last night just before 10 PM. This is remarkable only because I started reading it Sunday afternoon. No, it isn't a small book. It's just so darn compelling I had to finish it. I even took two breaks during work yesterday (something we're encouraged to do but I rarely do) so I could read at work.
This is a book about an antisocial woman who wears clunky boots, forgets to eat and shows interest in people only when they're part of her research. How could I not like it? Then she falls for an ill-kempt Welsh rogue? Please. How could I not like this book? Add a kilt, and I've written it. Not really. That's about it for similarities, although there is one part where she's looking up at this black "arch" that reminded me... well, I won't go into that.
It's set in Oregon and Oregon is a character in its own right. I can smell the gloomy, green damp and the salt water and the cold. Excellent! The health food store became the Health Food Mart I frequent (minus the deli and coffee bar - guess those are standard in Oregon). That tiny apartment with its card table could have been the tiny apartment I rented in grad school.
The publisher is CreateSpace, which I think means she did it herself. Well, she's a better editor than most because I didn't notice a single typo. Can't say that about many books these days, my own included. The best compliment I can give her is "it reads like a real book." Which also means there's some adult situations and cussing but not nearly as much as I get standing in the checkout line at Walmart, so don't let that stop you.
Since I don't know the author yet (we've FB Friended but what does that really say about a person?), my anxiety was higher than normal. Would I like the ending? Would all the suffering be worth it? Would the cat survive?! You can't always tell with these spec fic authors. Some of them enjoy tragedy as object lessons. That last page was a sigh of relief, I'm telling ya.
I gave it 5 stars. That's a first for me with a living author,* 'cause my realist self says they could always write a better book and where do you go from "up"? The best part is the price. $2.99! You can buy the book and a multi-grain vegan sandwich to go with it like a real Oregonian.
Most importantly, Ginger survives the book.
If you can't tell, I liked it. A lot.
*Turns out it's not a first for me. The first was Odd Little Miracles by Fred Warren and I've handed out a few since then. Apparently, early dementia afflicts the Turtle. Sorry.
And now the recipe I made in-between reading sessions and ate while reading:
Spaghetti with Zucchini and Garlic
2 sm to med zucchini, shredded large
¼ cp extra-virgin olive oil (4 turns on the pan)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper
(Basil pesto if you have access to such)
1 lb spaghetti, al dente
½ cp grated parmasiano or romano
Over medium heat, add olive oil and shredded zucchini.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cook zucchini 7 – 10 minutes. Add garlic (and basil pesto, if desired) in the last two minutes to avoid burning the garlic.
Add hot, drained pasta to the pan.
Toss spaghetti with zucchini and add handfuls of grated cheese. Adjust seasoning and serve.