Today marks Caroline’s last day on the KLS desk for the next three months. Sure London is all abuzz with the Royal Baby Watch, but we’re not to be outdone. We are all waiting and watching anxiously for the appearance of the newest members of our Library Family. However we want it noted that we are not stalking Caroline, harboring paparazzi nor are we placing bets on when it is going to happen. Also, we have noticed certain crankiness this week. I think that we are all wishing for some cooling and perhaps a tad less humidity. Why not pack the cooler this weekend, grab that beach chair and make sure you get a lovely something to read before you head out. I can promise that this will sweeten your mood. This week we have some unfortunate names, some folk singing, a motorcycle, 2 brothers, WASP Burial Rituals, and a New York story!
Let us begin!
Won’t you please welcome Mallory to the mix? She is the delightful new addition that you can find occasionally on the KLS desk. Here is her take on Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Saenz. “I devoured this little gem of a book in no time, entranced by the burgeoning friendship of Ari and Dante (15 year old boys with unfortunate names). This YA novel is exceptionally well-written with fully-formed parental characters. Ari, who lives inside his head and thinks his friend Dante is charmed, is told by his mother, ‘We all fight our own private wars.’ And it's true! The two boys and their four parents are each filled with silent, internal battles. Read and watch the characters unravel, only to become whole again with the help and support of their friends and family. You'll finish the book and want to immediately call your childhood best friend and hug your parents.”
Sweet Ann has just finished The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. You will note not so dark this week. “At first I didn't find this too interesting but then on approximately page 145 it became quite interesting. This is the story of four friends who bond at camp as teenagers and we as readers will follow for the next forty years. Ash and Goodman are brother and sister, Jonah is the son of a famous folk singer and Julia, renamed Jules by the group is not as privileged as the rest. Yes, this is a coming of age story but there are certainly some twists that keep you ‘interested’ especially as jealousy and secrets simmer below the surface. The characters are easy to relate to and very well developed. This is a terrific read.”
Babs B. has just watched The World's Fastest Indian. “This feel-good movie, based on a true story is appropriate for the whole family (for a change). In the late 1960's Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins) departs from New Zealand to race his classic Indian Motorcycle at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. He is on a very tight budget and thanks to the generosity of people he meets along the way, finally makes it to Utah. Needless to say, Burt ends up setting the record and remains legendary within the motorcycle community to this day. I never would have picked this for myself but am so happy my co-worker recommended it....thanks Abby!”
Barbara M. Again. No Nazis. No Paris. Again I am blaming the heat. Discuss.” Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest book, The Lowland, is haunting and compelling. It is just as beautifully written as her previous ones. It begins with two brothers in India in the 1960s, a time of political turmoil and upheaval. The brothers take different paths but their lives are forever intertwined. I hastened through the book only to slow down at the last few pages; I didn’t want the story of these people to end. I felt as if I’d known them all my life. Unfortunately it will not be out until September 24th.”
Those who know me know I am a sucker for a book that begins with WASP burial ritual. So imagine my delight upon beginning &Sons by David Gilbert which opens with the funeral of Charles Henry Topping at St. James’ on Madison. Who better to deliver the eulogy but his oldest and dearest friend the reclusive novelist (think J.D. Salinger) A.N. Dyer? Unfortunately, Dyer suffers a bit of a nervous breakdown on the pulpit and is forced over the next week to examine his own life and the wrongs he has committed. There is some amazing writing going on here and I can safely say that this one is earning a spot on the Jen List of Wonderful for the Year. The writing is crisp, intelligent and darkly comic. This one comes out at the end of the month.
And if you don’t want to take my word for it, here is Jeanne with her take! “When I first started reading & Sons: A Novel (The ampersand will prove important!) by David Gilbert, my eyes glazed over a bit. I wasn’t sure about the narrator and the prose seemed too dense. But soon, very soon, I was captured by Gilbert’s wit, the lure of his language. He is telling a New York story (the generations of boarding school at Exeter, Madison Avenue, Oyster Bay kind) of A.N. Dyer, a once celebrated, reclusive author of coming-of-age novels reminiscent of Salinger. He hasn’t written in many years, ‘not even a letter of decent length’ and now he is writing his good friend’s eulogy. How long will it be before he himself is eulogized? As the families gather to mourn, there are plenty of characters to get to know, father and son dynamics, truth and lies, regrets and mysteries. “