Recent Posts

Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa

This turned out to be an excellent book for these times. A post in A Life in Books about Japanese novels tells that it features an elderly woman who had Hansen’s Disease (formerly known as leprosy) as a young teenager and spent her life confined to a sanatorium though she had recovered. Even after the law was changed allowing former patients to leave, Tokue had no home to go to, and her...

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

It was the pleasure Tony experienced in recognizing the setting of this book as his own alma mater that drew me to the book. What kept me reading is a little less certain. I did keep reading, despite thinking that the graduate student life of these friends does not resemble the real life of graduate students as I know them. But then the “real life’ referred to in the title is life...

The Queen of Tuesday by Darin Strauss

I read somewhere that this book grew out of a fantasy of the author when he learned that his grandfather and Lucille Ball had both attended an event hosted by Fred Trump. The fantasy involved a kiss between strangers and later…..well, more. Though I knew this book was not a factual biography of Lucille Ball, still, time with that amazing woman seemed a good idea. And the bonus of a fantasy...

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

I was conscious of this author, but it was Jennifer who told me she had written a book that recounted the Pride and Prejudice story in present day Cincinnati. How could that possibly work, I thought, and will it include the beloved Cincinnati-style chili? Well, yes, that chili with cinnamon, served on spaghetti, topped with cheddar cheese, beans and onions is featured. And yes, the translation of...

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I appreciated hearing the author read this audiobook, a personal message to his 15-year-old son.  It was beautiful, moving, and brilliant by turns, so I honor it best by quoting some passages. He writes about the false concept of “race” and refers often to those who “believe they are white.” Someone he knew from his time at Howard University was killed by police. It was...

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

Having seen the movie Rebecca (and who knows, maybe I read the book too), I was happy to listen to the audiobook of My Cousin Rachael. The story is told by Philip Ashley, brought up by his beloved uncle Ambrose after his parents died. They live in a completely male household and lavish their love on the estate that Philip will inherit. By the time Philip is in his early 20s Ambrose has health...

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

While I was reading Jesmyn Ward’s book, Sing, Unburied, Sing, I sometimes woke up at night worried about one or another of her characters. All her characters seem fully human and you care for them, even those whose actions are reprehensible. In Salvage the Bones, Katrina is in the background looming over all the action. Along with tardy and sometimes disastrous preparations for the...

Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger by Lisa Donovan

Is it a mistaken perception that people who run, own, or work in high end restaurants are more likely than a person successful in some other endeavor to write a book about it? Books in this category that occur to me begin with George Orwell’s Down and Out in London and Paris (those kitchens were disgustingly dirty), to Alice Waters’ writing about Chez Panisse, Anthony Bourdain’s...

My Husband Simon by Mollie Panter-Downes

One of my favorite books from 2017 was One Fine Day by this author. She wrote for nearly 50 years for The New Yorker and her writing there informed many about wartime in London. This is one of her early books and is somewhat autobiographical, though the marriage she describes is not her own. The narrator Nevis is a young woman who has published two novels and falls in love with an unsuitable man...

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

I came upon this book in a listing of “beach reads,” and having read two other Charlotte Wood books, I was surprised by that category. The Natural Way of Things is a feminist polemic and very affecting. The Weekend is centered on three women going to a beach north of Sydney over the Christmas weekend (beach weather in Australia). Sounds like a beach read so far. But no. The three have...

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Blogs I Like