The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

keeper of lost causesShortly after a violent attack leaves one of his colleagues dead and another permanently paralyzed, detective Carl Mørck is shocked to be put in charge of a brand-new department at Copenhagen’s police headquarters.  However, he soon discovers that the newly formed Department Q consists only of Mørck himself, an enthusiastic assistant named Assad, and a towering stack of old, unsolved crimes.  Their first case is the disappearance of Merete Lynggaard, a well-known politician who vanished five years earlier.  Told in alternating narratives that show Mørck’s progress on the case and the days following Merete’s abduction, The Keeper of Lost Causes is a suspenseful, finely crafted detective novel.

Quote:
“She’d been lying on the floor thinking about books.  That was something she often did in order not to think about the life she might have had, if only she’d made different choices.  When she thought about books, she could move into a whole different world.  Just remembering the feeling of the dry surface and inexplicable roughness of the paper could ignite a blaze of yearning inside of her.  The scent of evaporated cellulose and printer’s ink.  Thousands of times now she’d sent her thoughts into her imaginary library and selected the only book in the world that she knew she could recall without embellishing it.”

Author:
Jussi Adler-Olsen is a Danish author, editor, and publisher.  His books have been translated into more than 40 languages, and he has published six novels in his acclaimed Department Q series.

Published:  2007; 2011 in English
Length:  395 pages
Set in:  Copenhagen, Denmark

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Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson

neither here nor thereBill Bryson first backpacked across Europe with his friend Katz (hilariously familiar to all who’ve read A Walk in the Woods) in the early 1970s.  Twenty years later, he sets out to retrace their steps.  As in any of his travel books, no country, city, or cultural icon is spared the bite of Bryson’s humor.

Quote:
“But that’s the glory of foreign travel, as far as I am concerned.  I don’t want to know what people are talking about.  I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.  Suddenly you are five years old again.  You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life.  Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”

Author:
Bill Bryson is the author of various travel books, including A Walk in the Woods and In a Sunburned Country, as well as non-fiction such as At Home and The Mother Tongue.  Bryson currently lives in England with his family.

Published:  1992
Length:  254 pages
Set in:  Norway, France, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey

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