Sunday, September 30, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
THE POLYSYLLABIC SPREE by Nick Hornby, BROOKLYN by Colm Tóibín, THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER by Junot Díaz, LP Colombia, LP Cambodia
Sunday, August 26, 2012
THE TRAGEDY OF ARTHUR by Arthur Phillips, some of NERUDA, SELECTED POEMS, THE CORRESPONDENCE ARTIST by Barbara Browning, THE SENSE OF AN ENDING by Julian Barnes, HOME by Toni Morrison
THE TRAGEDY OF ARTHUR by Arthur Phillips
Brilliant! Phillips manages to roast the cult of Shakespeare, while simultaneously honoring the guy. Rollicking, funny, fresh, wildly inventive, and just plain fun. Man, can this guy write. A brother and sister are in possession of a lost Shakespeare play. Or is it the work of their con artist father? This is one of those stellar reads that made me wonder why I ever try to write anything at all.
NERUDA: SELECTED POEMS
Yum. 'Nuff said.
THE CORRESPONDENCE ARTIST by Barbara Browning
After having spent several years with a Distant (sic) lover, flapping my digital wings with all my might to keep the shaky plane in the air, Browning's novel had particular resonance for me. The Correspondence Artist is an e-pistolary romance with a twist: the emails the protagonist sends are to four invented lovers, who form a composite of the one love whose name she dare not speak. With smart humor and in simple, direct language, the heroine tells her erotic story.
THE SENSE OF AN ENDING by Julian Barnes
Barnes writes an elegant sentence and a tightly constructed novel. His blue chip rep is deserved. But he's not a chick's writer--at least not this chick. The female lead in this spare novel could only have been dreamed up by a man, and there's something old boys' club about the texture of his writing.
HOME by Toni Morrison
A shell-shocked Korean War vet's love for his baby sister, set against a background of Southern racial politics. Touching and tender, a taut little read, but not star quality like some of her early works.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
TEN THOUSAND SAINTS; THE OTHER WES MOORE; YOU DESERVE NOTHING; WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ANNE FRANK
Time to make the doughnuts. At least four books I haven’t yet posted here. Maybe more, but I’ve forgotten what they are.
TEN THOUSAND SAINTS by Eleanor Henderson
You got me at the setting, time period and subject matter: The offspring of the hippie generation struggle to come of age in NY and Vermont, in the late 80s. But you lost me in the telling of it. Great reviews… but a snooze of a read.
THE OTHER WES MOORE by Wes Moore (duh).
Ditto. Interesting concept, but I fell off in the telling. Author Wes Moore is a Rhodes scholar and type-A success; his namesake is in prison for murder. Author reaches out to convict. They have many things in common. There but for the grace, etc. The author is going to be the graduation speaker for my 8th grade students this year… I want to sell this one to them, but I can’t.
YOU DESERVE NOTHING by Alexander Maksik
You got me at the setting and subject matter: English teacher in an international school in Paris. You held me in the telling. Not up there with Tobias Wolfe’s OLD SCHOOL, but a keen and sometimes lyrical look at teachers and their students. Nicely done. Worth the read.
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ANNE FRANK by Nathan Englander
Englander rocks. This new collection of stories may be uneven, but the guy is totally brilliant. One of our best contemporary writers, IMHO. Does he translate for non-Jews? I’m not sure. Go read him and let me know.