This week’s installment has the following fascinating elements: a royal wedding, a literary canon, more Paris (like we can ever get enough), a trip down a river, volunteer opportunities, and a baseball book that is not even really about baseball.
Let us begin!
Asha says “Sadly, this week does not feature any sketchy tales, instead--I’m reading Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof. I’ve always wanted to read this book but could never find the time, but then I read Think by Lisa Bloom and she mentions this book and I realized that I had to read it as soon as possible. Between Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World and Half the Sky, I have decided that I need to do more so I started volunteering in Stamford.”
Marianne is working her way through Twenty five Books that Shaped America: How White Whales, Green Lightsand Restless Spirits Forged our National Identity by Thomas C.Foster. “Written by the author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor Foster has chosen twenty five works of literature that he feels significantly impacted the development of the American character. While lists like these are always subjective, this book has really caught my attention. While my intent was to casually peruse and skim through the titles, I keep stopping to read the whole entry. I particularly liked "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The author finds it ironic that the most devastating portrait of capitalism run wild in Roaring 20s New York was written by a person who himself chased everything related to over the top consumerism.”
P-Tone aka Pat T. is enjoying “The Commoner by John Schwartz. Haruko, a young Japanese girl, meets the Crown Prince of Japan at a tennis match and over time and more tennis matches they find they are attracted to one another. Haruko is from a good family, but none the less a commoner who marries the Crown Princess and must learn the customs and culture of the Imperial Family. She overcomes many hardships throughout her marriage and perseveres to become the Empress of Japan.”
Abby says “There are a times I need to wait a bit once I've finished a book to decide how I felt about it. For me, Once Upon A River by Bonnie Jo Campbell was that kind of book. I've decided I really liked it! Set in the early 1980's this unique mix of The Odyssey and Huckleberry Finn follows the story of young Margot Crane who decides to live on and off of the river outside of Kalamazoo, Michigan. I was a huge fan of Tom Robb Smith's debut novel Child 44, and to a slightly lesser degree The Secret Speech. I was incredibly excited when the publisher sent me an advance copy of his latest, Agent 6. See, I don't just read Scandinavian crime; I am also sucker for a mystery set in the old Soviet Union. In this series, lead character Leo Demidov is an agent of the State. Leo works hard to be a believer in the State yet has strong issues of conscience with the demands of the Stalinist government. His relationship with his wife, Raisa is also somewhat fascinating. I'm not yet far into Agent 6, but look forward to seeing Leo's struggle and continued evolution.”
I am really enjoying a first novel that is coming out the beginning of September. Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding is a book that is about baseball the way A River Runs Through It is about fly fishing. What this means is that you do not need to be sportif (and please believe me when I say I am so very far from sportif ) to enjoy this wonderful glimpse into the world of Westish College and most specifically Henry Skrimshander, star short stop, who seems to be destined for the Big Leagues until something goes horribly wrong and his whole life’s purpose is called into question. Even the minor characters are lush and fully formed and I must say I love them all.
Have a happy weekend!
Yes Sam, August can be a bit rough but when you have some wonderful juicy new book goodness it certainly helps.
Here is what we are excited about for August!
In The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson, Annie and Buster have made rather a hash of their adult lives. How bad are things? Well, they are so bad that they must return home to their parents, Caleb and Camille, performance artists who used Annie and Buster all through their childhoods to create their “art”. Now that the family is reunited they want to perform one last piece. Will Annie and Buster relent and participate? This is a wonderful book that asks the question how far can an artist go for his or her art?
Next to Love by Ellen Feldman examines the darker side of The Greater Generation. Babe and her friends Grace and Millie marry their beaus and then send them overseas to fight in World War II. But only two husbands come home. This novel examines what life was like for both the men who fought the war and came home and the women who waited for them. The scars of war are not just the provenance of returning soldiers. This is a huge favorite for those of us who have read it and we cannot wait to share it.
In Among the Wonderful by Stacy Carlson takes us back to the Manhattan of the 1840s. When P.T. Barnum takes over the dusty Natural History museum the lives of Ana, the 8’ giantess and cranky Emile the resident taxidermist are turned upside down. Change is on the horizon for them both and the question is how they will individually deal with it. Carlson shows us a New York filled with oddities and outsiders both real and imagined.
Tom Violet always thought that by the time he reached a certain age things would be delightfully predictable. Nice wife ensconced in a nice home with a nice dog to come home to after a day working at his nice job. Sadly things have just not worked out that way. In Matthew Norman’s Domestic Violets we get a portrait of a man who has decided not to take his soul sucking life in stride with hilarious results. This one is for fans of Richard Russo or Jonathan Tropper.
Enjoy your Dog Days! September is sooner than you think!
Things have cooled down which can only mean the Desketeers are revving up. This week’s installment brings us feral boys, a dubious religion, water, water everywhere, bouquets, spirited discussions, guilty passion, a grief observed, and 8 year old evacuees.
Let us begin!
Asha says “I am reading Nothing by Janne Teller. It’s a modern adaption of Lord of the Flies. On the first day of school, seventh grader Pierre Anthon announces that life has no meaning and walks out of school. Everything, he has concluded, is a useless step toward death thus his classmates set out to prove him wrong but their efforts become twisted and dark. We all know how I love my weekly dose of sketchiness.”
Abby reports “When I heard Janet Reitman was releasing a book called Inside Scientology, I was all over it. I've seen in interviews where Janet has said she was out to produce a balanced look at the church, and frankly, my first thought was I don't want a balanced look, I want the ugly underbelly. Despite her attempts to be balanced, the established facts and half-baked explanations by Scientology leaders overwhelms my ability to view Scientology as anything but a business organization with a laser-like focus on power and money. Church founder L. Ron Hubbard was a sci-fi writer and fantabulist. That may be a good combination for fiction, but it's not something I'd put my faith in. “
Barbara M. is reading The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough. She says it is “a fascinating story of an avoidable disaster”.
Ann. She is small but she is mighty, mighty busy. She weighs in with the following: “I recently finished Bent Road. What an adventure! It hooked me from the beginning and now I keep wondering if there is a sound at the door. I thought the characters were well developed and I could feel the angst the son was experiencing. It was a different book for me, but terrific. As for Sister by Rosamund Lupton I loved it! The author's writing reminded me very much of Tania French. I loved the story of the sister searching for her sister's killer. It made me cry in parts when Beatrice was speaking of how much she loved her now deceased sister Tess. These great characters kept my interest from page one. Language of FlowersI am just midway through but I absolutely love the story of Victoria Jones and her will to survive. I enjoy the flower references and am thinking of bouquets to put together for people. It's a great book.
Marianne is always reading with an eye towards her book groups: “Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie. This was the second in the Library book group's series of books to movies that we're doing this summer. The book is a psychological thriller, in which the personalities, behavior and motivations of each of the Boynton family members are closely scrutinized. Mrs. Boynton in particular is a horror of a character. When she winds up dead it is up to Hercule Poirot to solve the murder and to accomplish the task within twenty four hours. After reading the book, we watched the BBC movie version which has some drastic changes in it. Needless to say we had a very spirited discussion after we finished reading and watching this intriguing book/movie."
Elisabeth of Team Tone Fame reports “I just finished How Did You Get This Number. It is a collection of personal essays by Sloane Crosley, author of I Was Told There'd Be Cake. It was an easy read, perfect for 20-something women maneuvering their way through the ‘Real World,’ and the jobs, roommates, and relationships that they encounter along the way.”
Pat, Leader of Team Tone says “Today I started reading The Long Goodbye: A Memoir by Meghan O'Rourke - the author writes about her mother's death from cancer and that nothing prepared her for this loss. I am always amazed how an author can eloquently write about such a personal loss. “
For those of you waiting patiently for Kate Morton to give us something new and wonderful I can promise you that you will love Rosie Alison’s book The Very Thought of You which was short listed last year for The Orange Prize in the UK. Anna Sands is 8 years old in 1939 when she is evacuated from London to the safety of the English countryside. She ends up at the estate of the childless Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton. Of course there are bound to be tragedies and secrets waiting. This is a fun read to tuck into the beach bag this weekend.
Have a happy weekend!
Fifteen years ago, Jon Krakauer captivated readers with the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young American whose wanderlust led him to Alaska and a mysterious, tragic end. Part of the book relates McCandless to another young man, Everett Ruess, an explorer, artist, and writer in the early part of the 20th century. Ruess disappeared in Utah under even more puzzling circumstances than McCandless, and to this day, his fate has never been definitely established. Now, author David Roberts tackles the 80-year-old mystery in a brand-new book (out July 19), Finding Everett Ruess.
At 20, Ruess and his two burros were exploring a Utah desert, far from civilization, when his family lost track of him. The burros were found, but to this day no trace of Ruess has ever been verified. Did he plan his own disappearence? Was he murdered? Did he fall and die in the wilderness? Lost diaries, weird "sightings," bone fragments, and DNA tests keep the tale unraveling, but Ruess remains forever 20 years old, an unsolved mystery and symbol of youthful longing and freedom.
For all who found the book and movie Into the Wild compelling, Jon Krakauer wrote the introduction to this book, so closely does he see the connection between McCandless and Ruess. Finding Everett Ruess may be the closest we ever come to really knowing what happened to a young man who once wrote, "I have not tired of the wilderness...it is enough that I am surrounded by beauty." The mystery of his fate still echoes today.
This week’s extreme heat seems to have put a damper on the Desketeers. The usual shenanigans may appear to be a bit muted. This is not to say the reading here isn’t excellent, it just feels, well almost normal. But! We do have too much drinking, dyslexia, a soothing narrator, auto-immune disorders, mean streets and peacocks! So while the heat may slow us down, it certainly doesn’t stop us.
Let us begin!
Ann is reading Bent Road by Lori Roy. “This is quite an interesting story about a family that leaves the mean streets of Detroit for what they think will be a quiet peaceful existence on Bent Road, rural Kansas, where the dad grew up. I'm having trouble putting this book down the story is so intriguing and spooky. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson,(audio book), learning the history and adventure of the author exploring the Outback. It's enjoyable and the author's voice is very soothing. “
Marianne says “I recently finished The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell. And my singular comment for this book is "Please say it isn't so. Good-by Kurt Wallender, the brilliant but fallible and out-of-shape loner who is prone to catching colds and drinking too much. Wallander is a tired and grumpy but very human perfectionist. This final book combines the detective's investigations into the world of the cold war and the relationship of Sweden to the U.S. and Russia along with Wallender's facing his own aging and mortality. I must admit, sad as I am that this is Kurt Wallender's last, I'm ready to move on.”
Citizen Asha is reading The Kid by Sapphire. “I read her first book (Push) years ago and I thought it was absolutely brilliant, dark but brilliant. The Kid is actually the sequel to Push, it features Precious’ son Abdul and his struggles after his mother’s death. I’m thoroughly enjoying the book-- I’ve always been a huge Sapphire fan. “
Abby S. reports she is “heading back to basics with Karin Slaughter's Fallen. In this one Will Trent, the brilliant yet emotional train wreck of a dyslexic detective is on the case as his partner's mother, a possibly corrupt retired detective goes missing. Since Slaughter has blended her two series, Sara Linton, the widowed coroner returns as well leaving us with the burning question of whether she and Will ever hook-up already. An enjoyable crime read and it's good to support Karin Slaughter who is in turn, a huge supporter of libraries.”
Barbara M. has just finished listening to The Sum of our Days by Isabelle Allende. "Excellent" This is all she could say. It was that good. It rendered her mute.
Pat is enjoying Joy for Beginners by Joy Bauermeister. “The story is about the friendship of seven women and the challenges they face at various stages in their lives. I think this book will be a good summer read!”
I spent two wonderful days reading Ann Napolitano’s new book A Good Hard Look. When Flannery O’Connor left New York City for her childhood home in Milledgeville, Georgia it was because her Lupus had progressed to such a degree that she needed her mother’s care. When Cookie and her fiancé come to Milledgeville from New York it is from choice to begin their new lives in Cookie’s hometown. Lona Waters is the wife of a local policeman who has never left Milledgeville and she feels life slowly passing her by. When these three lives intertwine everything they thought they knew about what they wanted from life is called into question. And it has peacocks!
Have a happy weekend!
Summer is finally here and with a nice long weekend to look forward to here is what the Desketeers have been enjoying. Or not. You never know with them. This week’s installment features warring family members, beauty walking like the night, dry alcoholics, segregation, ex-pats, and beauty products for weasels.
Let us begin!
Could it be the impending holiday that has Marianne pondering the State of the Family with her latest: “You may know one, you may have one or you may be one. And what is that? A daughter-in-law! If any of the preceding applies to you, you must read Daughters-in-Law by Joanna Trollope. As a mother of four sons and now, four daughters-in-law this book made me look much more carefully at my own family relationships.” Marianne found this charming article on BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13973331 . Read, discuss amongst yourselves and then read the book. We guarantee that you won’t just see fireworks in the sky.
Elizabeth, as usual, has many things going on at once. “So this week I'm reading quite the combination of books. I'm reading the Paris Wife which I absolutely adore. This is the first book I've read since The Help that totally takes me to another world. I don't ever want it to end. I also read She Walks in Beauty, which is a book of poems selected by Caroline Kennedy. It's basically her journey through life as told through this collection of poems. They're broken up into sections according to phases of life, e.g. falling in love, breaking up, marriage, loss and grieving, etc. I'm enjoying Caroline's own anecdotes between sections but I'm a little underwhelmed by the poems themselves. I'll just say it's not wowing me. Lastly, I'm listening to Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods on audio. He returns to the U.S. after living in England for 20 years and decides that the best way to reintroduce himself to our fine country is to hike the entire Appalachian Trial with his heinously out of shape, ex-drug addict/alcoholic childhood friend. It is equal parts terrifying and hilarious. I'm enjoying the book but I can say with certainty that it has frightened me out of any future hiking or camping expeditions. The entire first chapter is a list of traumatizing ways one can die in the wilderness. Need I say more?”
Ann also has much going on: “The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew. It is the story of a family living in South Carolina with their black maid, Mary, during the 1950's. The story is told by the thirteen year old daughter Jubie. The father of the family is abusive towards Jubie and it is Mary who gives her comfort. The father also has cheated against the wife so she decides to take her children and Mary to Florida to visit her brother. Due to racial discord in the south at this time, tragedy strikes Mary which has a profound effect on Jubie. It is a good read but predictable in parts. A Place of Yes 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life by Bethenny Frankel. It is an interesting read if you are a Bethenny fan. She tells her life story and how she used her experiences to turn her business adventures into successes and her personal life into all she wanted. Many of her suggestions are not new but she presents them in an amusing way. I did think her advice would be good for young people starting out in their first jobs, for example to stand out at work and not just stay with "the pack". I also enjoyed Bossypants by Tina Fey as an audio book. This audio book was fun to listen to because Tina Fey reads it. She tells about her childhood, beginnings of her career and her present day life. It was fun and made my time on 95 go quickly, not really, but it was a lot more fun with Tina.”
Abby says that listening to The Paris Wife on audio “has me very excited. It was hearing my wonderful co-worker speak of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast that moved me to read the book, and it sets up the Paris Wife beautifully. WhereA Moveable Feast is Hemingway's take on his time in Paris alongside his wife Hadley, The Paris Wife, while fiction, is an account of his first wife Hadley Richardson. Beginning in her childhood, we learn how she met the aspiring writer. We've not yet been to Paris. This audio has really sucked me into Chicago of the time, rich with details, inner lives, and fountains of Prohibition Era liquor. I usually only get the sensation of thumping in my chest during suspenseful movies (at the end of Silence of the Lambs, my heart was pounding so hard I was convinced the people in the theater near me could hear it and would tell me to quiet down), but the debut novel by SJ Watson had my blood pumping! Set in England, it tells the story of Christine, a married woman who suffers from an unusual form of amnesia. She can hold onto memories during her waking hours, but each day she awakes remembering nothing of the days before. Pursuing treatment, she begins to unlock the mystery of the trauma that cost her so much and explore the woman she was.
Citizen Asha seems, well, almost sedate this week. “I am reading the Love Child by Sheila Kohler. It’s about a woman (named Bill) coping with the loss of her husband as well as a few family secrets. This all takes place while she’s living during the apartheid era in South Africa. It’s a stretch for my usual sketchy novels but I think it will be a great read.” We hope she isn’t coming down with something.
Pat Tone the Leader of Team Tone says "on the recommendation of a patron, I started reading Come to the Edge: a Memoir by Christina Haag. The memoir captures the friendship and five year romance between the author and John F. Kennedy JR. It is lovingly written and the author gives us a rare glimpse into the personal life of John F. Kennedy JR. as a teenager to his early years as an adult. "
Elisabeth of Team Tone Fame is reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. "It's a great non-fiction read about the American ambassador in Germany and his daughter during Hitler's rise to power in 1933. You can tell that a lot of detailed research went into the creation of this book, but it reads like a story!"
I read The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai this week. Lucy Hull is a children’s librarian who perhaps cares a bit too much about her young patrons. When she realizes that 10 year old Ian is about to be packed off to an evangelical “re-education” center because his parents feel he is on the fast track to becoming a friend of Dorothy the two hit the road. This is a quick, light, fun read peppered with all sorts of kid lit references, shady Russians, and a lovely little hair care product called Ferret-Glo.
We wish you a lovely long weekend filled with book goodness and an utter lack of Ferret-Glo!
While we agree with you Henry, we also would argue that New Books are two of the words we also most like to hear!
Here are a few things to consider for your beach tote this month and while you are at it clear your calendar! Two of these authors will be coming to pay us a visit!
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is a wonderful read. When Katey and her roommate Eve first meet Tinker Grey it is 1938 New Year’s Eve in Greenwich Village. Tinker is suave, debonair and worldly. In short, everything Katey and Eve are not but desperately long to be. Katey and Eve should be careful about what they wish for. This is a great read that is as classic as a little black dress, a gin martini and a camel’s hair coat. Won’t you please join us on August 17th when Amor Towles comes to speak?
Madame Bovary’s Daughter by Linda Urbach answers the literary question of, “Gee whatever did happen to Berthe Bovary?” We know that her mother’s story ends very badly but what became of her daughter? Urbach weaves a delicious story around that premise while incorporating some of the most famous names of French culture such as Worth and Millet. This promises to be a fun and frothy summer read.
Oriental Wife by Evelyn Toynton introduces us to Rolf and Louisa, refugees from Hitler’s Germany who meet, fall in love and move to New York. But a freak accident shatters this ideal and eventually colors the world of their daughter. Can Old World views ever merge with a life in America?
Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard is her story in her words. Just in case you don’t know her story, she was kidnapped when she was 11 and for 18 years was forced to live a nightmare at the hands of a monster. Happily this ends with her winning back her freedom not just for herself but for her two children.
In this first novel Everything Beautiful Came After by Simon Van Booy, we meet Rebecca, the artist who has come to Athens to find herself. We also meet George, who has come to Athens to learn the languages of the ancients after spending his childhood and young adult years in boarding schools and Ivy covered walls. And we meet Henry who is an archaeologist who is not just uncovering the secrets of Athens’ past but also his own. On July 19th the author will be paying us a visit, and we hope you will join us for that.
A pretty young woman disappears on a quiet college campus. Strange and secretive behavior among the students leads new teacher Phoebe Hall to suspect that there's a pattern to some similar recent events. When she starts to investigate, she finds herself the target of increasingly malicious pranks. Is there really a secret society on campus, with bizarre initiation rites? Or is a serial killer on the loose? You'll be double-checking all of the locks on your doors and windows -- and your dish-washer -- as the story unfolds.
Kate White, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and author of the Bailey Weggins mystery series, returns with The Sixes, a stand-alone page-turner that's nearly impossible to put down between chapters. And just when you think that the mystery has been solved, you'll notice that there are still plenty of pages left in the book for an unexpected ending. This perfect summer read is set for release on August 2 -- place your hold now!
Well Happy Summer (finally!)!!! Here is the latest installment with the usual shenanigans, hi-jinks and tom foolery!
Let us begin!
Jeanne is reading Myla Goldberg's The False Friend. She says, “ I had read Wickett's Remedy and Bee Season (with everyone else) and both were great. Now The False Friend tells a story of a young woman, a very successful professional, who suddenly remembers SOME of the details of a gruesome act that occurred when she was a teenager, 20 years ago. She was part of a group of highly competitive girls who were devastated when one of their group is abducted, or so they thought. Now her memory has been jogged by the sight of a red Volkswagen Beetle and she wants to go back to the scene of the crime in her hometown and tell all. “
Abby has had a change of perspective with her pick for the week which is “Bossypants by Tina Fey the Book on CD. “As I drive and listen to this audio book, I generally have a big smile on my face. When I see someone driving around looking like this, I usually assume they are crazy. Now when I see a smiling driver alone in their car, I think maybe, just maybe, they are not crazy, but actually listening to Bossypants. She is also working on The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler. She reports that ”This Swedish Crime novel by a husband and wife team is a big hit in Europe and has made it to some summer reads lists. It has all the elements fans of the genre look for: a gifted and contemplative detective, a serial killer, solid forensics, and lots of sandwiches. So far, so good.”
The lovely Priscilla, just back from some time on her beloved island is reading Wave by Susan Casey. “And what a ride it is. The planet's waters are changing and who knows this better than surfers. A climate change warning as our oceans produce more rogue waves. Where are they, why are they happening and where might they be targeting? Much of this story is told through the experiences of surfers. Something to ponder as you sit at the beach.”
Barbara M says that she “somehow missed A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson when it was first published but started it yesterday and am, as usual, loving his writing.”
Citizen Asha is back in the land of Flavia with the audio book of The Weed That String's the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley. She says “ It's the sequel to The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie which I absolutely adored. I just started it so I haven't gotten into any sketchy details as yet, but I'm sure the sketchiness is around the corner. “
Pat has changed formats and says “I started reading 22 Britannia Road a few weeks ago and then put it down when a copy of the audio book came available. I am happy I waited for this audio book since the reader does a superb job. As you listen to this story you truly feel the depth of emotions of the characters, Janusz and Silvana. This young couple were separated during WW II for six years and when they were re-united they had to overcome the horrific effects of the war, as well as the secrets each character possessed to become a family again.”
I finished Everything Beautiful Began After this week. This beautifully written novel tells the story of 3 people who come together in Athens one summer . The author Simon Van Booy will be here at the library on July 19th at 7:00 and the book comes out on July 5th.
Have a great weekend!
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!