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Becoming by Michelle Obama

I was fortunate to have this book to read during that endless travel day to Malta last week and it has been a good companion as I recover from jet lag. Though I knew the reviews for this book were positive, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. I especially loved reading about her childhood and her modest, fun-loving, and hard-working family background. Throughout the book the...

Books to Read

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. 2005. two distinct voices. Kim rec. Too much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko. Lisa enthusiastic. 330 pages, stella shortlist. In the Shadow of Statues by Mitch Landrieu. Audiobook. Thomas and Beal in the Midi by Christopher Tilghman. Avail. April 16. Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken. The Siege of Krishnapour by J.G. Farrell. audiobook. Madame Foucade’s Secret...

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

What a pleasing book this is. It kept surprising me as it tacked in one direction, then another. It begins with Juliet Armstrong being hit by a car in 1981 and though she can hear someone calling her name to help her, she was unable to respond. She had been at a concert of Shostakovich string quartets  (the 7th, 8th, and 9th) at the Wigmore and it came to her she would miss the rest of them. She...

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Tony’s enthusiasm brought me to this book, and a better audiobook I cannot imagine. It is the story of a young woman making her way in London during the blitz. Thinking she was applying for a newspaper job, she found herself typing for a failing women’s magazine from another era. Emmy lives with her friend from home Bunty in the upstairs of Bunty’s grandmother’s house...

The Taliban Shuffle by Kim Barker

I happened on this book by a strange route. In my last book, Whiskey & Charlie, the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc) is a key component of its structure. In looking around Wikipedia, a movie title caught my eye, Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot (yes, pretty funny title), and I learned it was based on this book by journalist Kim Barker. The NYT review of the book says the author...

Whiskey & Charlie by Annabel Smith

Whiskey and Charlie are twins born in Britain whose family moved to Australia when they were teens. The book opens with Charlie sitting with Whiskey in the hospital after an accident left Whiskey in a coma. Chapters with scenes at Whiskey’s bedside are written in sans serif type to distinguish them from the story of their growing up and then growing apart. That story is told in chapters...

Cold Spring Harbor by Richard Yates

It was Reading Matters’ recent review that was the impetus for reading this 1986 book written by the author of the better known Revolutionary Road. It begins with Charles Shepard’s disappointment that the war ends just as he arrives in Europe in 1918. He stays in the army until it’s clear his deteriorating eyesight has limited his career. His wife does not thrive, and after...

The Beauties: Essential Stories by Anton Chekhov

The stories in this collection of Chekhov’s work were translated by Nicolas Pasternak Slater, nephew of Boris Pasternak. I am new to his stories and I rarely read short story collections. It was Tony’s enthusiasm that led me to this particular collection. I don’t know the reasons for putting these particular stories together. In a few of the stories, Burkin, a high school...

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton

Tim Winton’s most recent fiction is yet another amazing work. The narrator is a teenage boy who begins his story telling that his father has once again beaten him, leaving one eye swollen shut. Later Jackson returns to find his father had died when the car he was repairing collapsed on him. Jackson, believing he will be accused of killing his father, runs in hopes of getting far enough away...

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Thirty-eight year old Tsukiko Omachi recounts the story of her connection with her former high school teacher Harutsuna Matsumoto who she encounters by chance while drinking in a bar. She didn’t remember the name of this man 30 years her senior, so she calls him Sensei, and continues to do so. They meet by chance over many months, drinking saké and eating together, most often at a...

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