Thursday, May 07, 2009

According to Their Deeds

I visited Grandma for a couple of hours this afternoon. If nothing has changed, I'll go back around eight or nine tonight to spend the night with her again. Jeff stayed last night, and he said that the nurse who had been so rude to me was wonderful. Apparently someone talked to her about it. Grandma is running a fever of almost 104, but the hospice nurse said that's normal at the end of life. I am so impressed by all of the hospice staff from Unity. They are unfailingly polite and supportive.

Grandma has deteriorated so that she isn't talking or moving at all, just breathing quickly but peacefully and occasionally opening her eyes. She's been a huge Packer fan for most of her life, in the last couple of years she's even had a bit of a crush on A.J. Hawk. When he came on the TV screen, she'd say, "There's my guy." When I came in today, I talked to her about different things: the kids, the weather, flowers. Then I leaned in close and told her about Brett Favre's possible defection to the Minnesota Vikings. A brief smiled flitted across her face, and Grandma chuckled, she actually chuckled! That was such a blessing for me and Jeff. She's still there, and she can hear us just fine, AND she agrees with the rest of us Packer fans that Favre is being ridiculous!

According to Their Deeds by Paul Robertson is an unexpected delight disguised as a political thriller/mysterious book quest. Charles Beale is quite content with his life as a rare book store owner in Alexandria, Virginia. Married to his soulmate, Dorothy, and buying and selling books that inspire his soul, life has settled into a comfortable rhythm, even with the addition of a part-time worker named Angelo who is doing his probation working at the store. After the death of Charles' friend, Derek, he purchases back the antique books on philosophy that Derek had purchased over the years. He discovers Derek had a hidden life built on profiting from the secrets of others, and Charles determines what to do with this knowledge as well as discover who really murdered Derek and why. Most books with this plot as a set-up would quickly spiral into car chases, gunfights, and treks across the world. Robertson instead turns the entire genre on its head with this quiet and incredibly intelligent mystery. Charles' method of investigation involves enigmatic conversations with the many suspects, and much of the book is simply conversations. Charles is polite, and the definition of a good man. The secrets he discovers weigh heavily on his heart as he tries to determine whether to administer justice or mercy. As a reader, I fell in love with the subtle rhythm of the book, along with discerning the truth. It's a rare gem in a cluttered genre, and I hope that Robertson isn't finished with Charles and Dorothy. I would love a sequel.

Mia's acquired a recent love of Magic School Bus dvds. I've been ordering them from the library, and we've been on a steady diet of them for the last two days. She's already changed her dream job from veterinarian to marine biologist from yesterday's episode about the ocean!