And She's Still Alive

The writer's strike has had a positive influence on me. Instead of spending 10-11 pm every night watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, I've been reading. The negative influence is that I'm now staying up past my bedtime on a regular basis (until midnight some nights) finding my book too hard to put down.
I'm currently enjoying a rekindling my love of Latin American author Isabel Allende. The first book of hers that I read was "The House of the Spirits" and it probably remains her defining novel for many readers. I then consumed "Eva Luna" and "The Stories of Eva Luna" quickly. After I finished one of her books, I quickly sought the next one.
Allende is a fabulous storyteller, with twisting plotlines full of tangible details, like the scent of orange blossoms, or the grit of wind. Unlike one of my other favorite authors, Jane Austen, who I regretted could never pen another book, I was so happy that Allende is still alive. Still writing! (Born in 1942, so probably still holding a few unwritten tales in her head for me.)
But then she had a few books which were duds: "Aphrodite" a book with an identity crisis, not knowing if it was a cookbook or a novel. And although I read it with sincere sympathy, "Paula" the book about her sick daughter, was a hard ice water bath, compared to her usual offerings which are escapist and romantic magical realism. And after that disappointment I held her following novels to higher scrutiny, and ended up let down.
But "Zorro" is riveting me! I was dubious, thinking it might be just a retelling of that Antonia Banderas movie, but it's not. It has pirates and magicians!
Isabel and I are friends again.

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