Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach 2008 (319 pgs)
Roach writes the best kind of science- compulsively compelling and delightfully accessible. In her third book, she delves into the history and current state of sex research. With short sections ranging from artificial insemination of farm animals to the study of rats in polyester pants (really!). Extremely informative, occasionally shocking, often hilarious, and always entertaining, Roach knows how to present science in a way that keeps you coming back for more.
Winter Haven by Athol Dickson 2008 (333 pgs)
Vera is called to a remote island off the coast of Maine when her brother’s body is discovered on the shore. He’s been missing for 13 years, and Vera has out of necessity blocked all thoughts of his fate. But when she arrives, a hard duty becomes nearly impossible. Her older brother looks like a teenager, unchanged from the day he disappeared. And that’s not the only mystery on the island.
I was keeping a wary eye on this one, in case it turned sappy and life-affirming. (The author won a Christian fiction award for a previous book.) It did, but not until the very end. The bulk of the novel was an easy and enjoyable gothic-light (in the traditional “wife in the attic/bleeding wallpaper” sense) suspense story. I was disappointed in the too pat “it all happens for a reason” tie-up, but otherwise it was fairly entertaining.