In this week’s installment we see the usual suspects up to some unusual reading choices.  We have fungus, a former Secretary of State, a rather sketchy way to make a living, a lack of amazement and a book that is absolutely destined to be a classic!  There is even a Christopher Walken sighting!

Let us begin!

Abby reports,” It's a Battle of The Mushrooms, and I don't mean portabella versus oyster.  The contemporary thriller Spiralby Paul McEuen takes place at Cornell University where the World's Leading Mycologist is working on a personal mission dating back to WWII. Pair a mysterious and deadly stranger with super-secret extra deadly spores, and there you go.  It is so far, very Michael Crichton-esque.  I've just met the hero so no opinion formed yet as to his abilities/likability.



Elizabeth says “This week I did Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe. It was an audio book and it was ENDLESSLY ENTERTAINING. I'm not actually done with it yet and I hope it never ends because it makes driving such a joy. He does hilarious impressions of his childhood friends and actors he met growing up: among them: Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, and Tom Cruise! Even Christopher Walken is thrown in for good measure. It's brilliantly written, insightful, and funny. Also, for kicks, I read The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde. It's an oldie but goodie. So incredibly witty and intelligent- a very quick read too. I'm currently reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, and though it's very smart and somewhat entertaining, it's causing me to have an existential crisis so I don't think I'm going to finish it.”

Pat T. is a tad disgruntled this week.   “I have just finished reading Three Stages of Amazement by Carol Edgarian and am still waiting to be amazed by this book! You have a young married couple with all the stresses of work and family, add to this feelings of abandonment (on the part of the wife) and the reappearance of an old flame and it all wraps up way to neatly. “



Jeanne is working on many things at once.  “I am reading The Language of Baklava and enjoying it. Being someone who loves recipes and from an Italian family that loves to cook, eat and share recipes, I found authentic feeling in Diana Abu-Jaber's memoir filled with clever stories that tell of her growing up half Arab-American in Syracuse, NY and Jordan and her struggle to fit in either place, both with her parents and neighbors. The recipes add to the emotional landscape in a romantic, yet practical way.  I am also listening to Condoleezza Rice's Extraordinary, Ordinary People  A Memoir of  Family while driving. I appreciate her simple, honest style of relating her story of growing up in Alabama as a black, middle class, only child of educated, loving parents who strive to offer her the best in education and culture, but who did not have choices in the schools they sent her to and who could not take her to dinner in the local restaurants. One can see how Rice grew into a smart, driven politician.”

Asha has hit a worrying new low this week with her choice.  She wants us all to know that “ I am currently reading Rotters by Daniel Kraus. I am enjoying it so far, the main character is fearful of his mother dying and when she does he is shipped off to live with his estranged father who happens to be a grave robber. His father offers to teach him the trade; at first he is hesitant which is silly!  Grave robbing is honest work!”

Your new thing learned for the week?  Grave robbing can be considered a trade.

When Nora R. (her real name, really) asked me if I had read the new Russell Banks yet I had to tell her it was not even in my pile.  She insisted and as Nora is someone who I trust when it comes to Book Goodness I moved it to the top.    Lost Memory of Skin is an amazing piece of work.  Banks tells us the story of The Kid, a young man who is homeless and on probation for a sex crime.  The Professor is just that.  A professor of sociology at the local college who wants to use The Kid as a subject for his research into homelessness among convicted sex offenders.  Banks has made these two incredibly flawed characters two people who you really end up caring about.  Honestly?  This is a slow motion train wreck.  I know it will not end well.  But I have to slowly savor each word and sentence. It will be out in October.  

Have a lovely weekend!