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Perfect Book for These Times

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. The perfect read for these days of sheltering in place. Although this gentleman had the run of a hotel in Moscow, he couldn’t leave it. The circumstances of today’s coronavirus seclusion. A lovely sweet and non-claustrophobic stay is filled with comings and goings, historical richness and tender relationships. It provides expanded horizons and hope from the inside out. Worth another look.

A Long Petal of the Sea

by Isabel Allende. Have read many of Allende’s novels. This one seemed closer to her own story. As it turns out, it was. Intimate raw scenes with familial context during the Spanish Civil War. A voyage from Europe to Chile on the Winnipeg spear-headed by poet Pablo Neruda well-drawn. The love stories less compelling. However, learned a lot more than I’d known about the politics and hardships of the Spanish Civil War and later Chile during Allende and Pinochet. For that historical value a very good read. Wish Neruda’s poems… Read more A Long Petal of the Sea

Purple Hibiscus

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. NYC Book Club pick. Although first published in 2003, it still holds up as a universal coming-of-age (bildungsroman) and glimpse into daily and political life at the time in Nigeria. Kambili is a fifteen year old Nigerian girl from a wealthy family. Her father is devoutly Catholic and gives generously to the Church and community where they live and worship in the city. They also have a country home where they spend Christmas and where Eugene, the father grew up. He rejects his own father as… Read more Purple Hibiscus

Reference Books

These books/essays are a constant source of reference: American Elitism- Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance Being Black in America- Ruby, Cynthia Bond College Sports Cabal– I Am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe Oligarchies– Snowdrops, A.D. Miller Cooking– Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl Evolution of terrorism– Homefire, Kamila Shamsie Writing Prizes– Lost for Words, Edward St. Aubyn Cruises- Shipping Out, David Foster Wallace Banks Too Big Yet Failed- The Perfect Prey, Jeroen Smit

Best of 2019

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield. A meandering magical sojourn along the winding upper Thames. Only one other person in our NYC Book Club liked it besides me. The others pretty much hated it. So. Discovered Sadie Jones. First read Snakes, her recent novel about a ramshackle inn in France and then her older The Uninvited Guests. Both feature awful mothers and quirky dwellings. Witty prose. Ruth Reichl’s Save Me The Plums proves that not only is she a legendary food editor and writer, but a really good story teller. Lots… Read more Best of 2019

Drowning With Others

by Linda Joffe Hull & Keir Graff = Linda Keir. Secret History-ish. Murder mystery at a Prep School twenty years after the disappearance of a visiting poetry instructor. I liked it. Not brilliant writing. Yet. The amalgam authorship worked. Getting different points of view through old journals and current thoughts clever and compelling. Not sure how the two writers collaborated, but it really did flow well and each character was sharply drawn and memorable. At first I thought, another love story in high school, and frankly who remembers high school… Read more Drowning With Others

Wo Man Booker

Two women won the 2019 Booker Prize. Margaret Atwood for The Testaments and Bernardine Evaristo for Girl, Woman, Other. Can we now finally do away with other women-only literary lists?

The Dutch House

by Ann Patchett. The Dutch House is never a home. Those who live in it are unsettled. Danny is the narrator who tells the story of its inhabitants. He is the least formed character. The brother of Maeve, son of Elna & Cyril, husband of Celeste, father of May and Kevin, step-son of Andrea and step-brother of her daughters. An uncurious boy and man who seems to sleep-walk through a traumatic life. Even when he finds himself it is as his father’s son, his sister’s keeper, his daughter’s admirer. His… Read more The Dutch House