First of all a heartfelt thanks to The Citizen for filling in for me these past two weeks! She did an amazing job and I salute her.
This week we have a dentist, some siblings, a lack of talent, some questions, a cup of coffee, a work of art, immigrants, a people adrift, and some Harvard.
Let us begin!
Citizen Asha reports that she is reading another sunny and uplifting tale. “I finished Threats by Amelia Gray. You follow the life of David as tries to pick up the pieces after the loss of his wife, once a dentist, he now hides from the world in is his decrepit home. But, something is happening to him, his mind is deteriorating and it does not help that he keeps finding threatening notes describing his wife’s death. I’m not sure how I feel about this book, there is not much to like, there are no redeeming qualities just loss and pain.”
Pat T. says, “I have just started reading Carry the One by Carol Anshaw in hopes of hearing the author speak at an event this week. This is a novel about three siblings, Carmen, Alice and Nick whose lives are complicated and intrinsically changed after an accident that killed a twelve year old girl the night of Carmen's wedding. I thought this novel began slowly, but as the story continued I became more invested in these flawed, yet redeemable characters.”
The Lovely Pat S. is tackling not just one read but 2! “ The Spoiler by Annalena McAfee opens in London in the second half of the 90's. Two journalists, one older, highly illustrious, and the other, young and hungry but lacking refined talent, square off against one another. Neither of these characters is in any way likable nor sympathetic. nor is their story compelling. Thus, their story drags on endlessly and the reader can only count down the pages to the end. Life is too short to recommend this to anyone. The Affair by Alicia Clifford begs the question, "How well do we really know our loved ones?". Taking place in England over a period of fifty years, this story traces the supposed love story of two people as seen through the eyes and memories of family and friends. Yet the truth is different for each. Well written and with likable characters, the reader ends the story with questions about their own circle of family and friends.
Jeanne is working her way through Drowned by Therese Bohman. The author is Swedish so I was not surprised at the making, drinking and offering of coffee on every third page like that popular Swedish trilogy. But I was a bit surprised at the unexplained psychotic behavior and resulting tragedy in an otherwise seemingly peaceful setting.
Barbara M. is reading Girl Reading: A Novel by Katie Ward. “ It’s her debut novel and is really seven separate tales each describing the story behind a work of art depicting a girl reading. The stories take place in different time periods. I thought the premise was intriguing and so far it’s kept my interest. “
Marianne reports that she has “finished 97 Orchard Street by Jane Ziegelman just in time for the discussion that Barbara Monin and I will be leading. This book appeared to have everything I want in a good story. And while I found the writing a little on the dry side, I love all of the new information I have regarding the immigrant life in New York City back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It's a valuable read, not only because it helps us all understand our ethnic heritage, but may also, give us some perspective on the challenges that today's immigrants are facing.”
Priscilla just finished The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan. “The year is 1914 and Grace is on trial for murder along with two other women. So begins the saga of 39 people aboard a lifeboat. The suspense builds as we learn about the dynamics of living on this boat for 3 weeks. I found myself asking, what would I have done or felt? Would I be as noble as I think I am? Grace narrates this tale of decision making, personalities, mystery, hunger and death. She is only 22 and has been married for 10 weeks. Did her husband survive the ships explosion? Is she or is she not guility of murder? This is a debut novel and I so enjoyed Charlotte Rogan's writing.
I just finished The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan. This is the story of 4 women from the Harvard class of 1989 who reunite for their 20th reunion. Addison, Mia, Jane and Clover are all facing various crisis of the soul. Will this weekend heal them or hurt them? The Red Book is an actual book put out by Harvard every five years in which alumni write essays describing where they are and what they are doing. I loved all four of these women and rooted for them all.